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Mary Comans: FEMA Eyes RPA Bots to Improve Grant Payment Process

1 min read
Mary Comans
Mary Comans CFO FEMA

Mary Comans, chief financial officer at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said FEMA is considering using robotic process automation bots to automate the process of awarding emergency preparedness funds and other grants to recipients as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, hurricanes and other crises, FedScoop reported Thursday.

“From a business and management stand point, automation would be a game-changer,” Comans said Wednesday at the IBM Think Gov digital event.

Among the ideas for bots are validating upfront eligibility for grant recipients or streamlining the process for assigning funding. Automation also would catch any accidental overpayments or payments to the wrong organization. 

She said FEMA plans to use RPA bots to streamline the process for distributing funds, validate eligibility for grant program recipients and detect any inadvertent overpayments.

“We need to ensure that at the end of the day every dollar goes to the survivor that needs it,” she added.

In addition, the General Services Administration (GSA) has also integrated bots as a coronavirus-response tools. One of GSA’s RPAs compiled infection data from countries where federal buildings are located. The data helped inform the government’s situational awareness and the potential risk of infection for federal workers.