U.S.’s FEMA Demands NYC Hurricane Sandy Victims Repay $1.4M in Aid

Susanne Posel (OC) : The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is asking for thousands of dollars in aid monies given to victims of Hurricane Sandy from Belle Harbor Manor (BHM), a home for disabled senior citizens.

Hurrycane Sandy_New York_USA_SP_OCThis scheme was enacted through correspondence with funding recipients in an effort “to recuperate huge amount[s] of money in aid obligations that went to barred homes, either due to errors, a misunderstanding of the rules or utter fraud.”

Robert Rosenberg, resident of BHM, received a letter from FEMA demanding that Rosenberg give back $2,486 he collected in 2012 because the intended purpose of the funds were to facilitate “temporary housing” and Rosenberg did not use the money for that purpose.

The residents of BHM were evacuated to a center that was set up at the Brooklyn Armory and were subsequently moved on to a “hotel inside a crime-affected neighborhood where [BHM residents] were advised not to go outdoors at night.”

The mentally ill were placed into a “partly-abandoned psychiatric hospital” in Queens “where they bunked on cots and were barred from getting site visitors in their rooms.”

Rosenberg said “the FEMA employees who advised [me] to get assistance during the time when citizens were staying in the armory never described that the money could just be used for housing.”

Rosenberg explained: “We are on the fixed earnings. I don’t have that money! I am suffering from a spine disability along with other chronic health issues. Long ago, I spent that aid money on food and clothing, both of which were in short supply after the storm.”

Back in September, FEMA began is requesting that $1.4 million doled out to victims of Hurricane Sandy repay the money to the federal agency.

After FEMA inspected nearly 4,500 homes they allege that some may “have received improper payments” after the storm was over.

Cities in New York and New Jersey marked for returns include: • Queens  • Brooklyn  • Staten Island  • Long Beach  • Freeport  • Seaside Heights  • Toms River  • Atlantic City.

In 2013, FEMA requested 850 victims who received disaster aid return $5.8 million to the government.

The average request for aid was nearly $7,000 on annual incomes under $30,000.

During this “campaign” to recoup “overpayments” was established because of: • Violations of eligibility rules  • Missing documents  • Mistakes on paperwork  • Fraud  • More than one member of the household received funds.

One example was that of a man who had his aging father living with him. FEMA demanded the $17,000 they gave in aid back because the father and son were “living together”.

FEMA also demanded $25,000 in aid back from a family because they “failed to buy food insurance” after Hurricane Irene hit their area last year.

After sending out the aid, FEMA now wants it back because they have decided certain victims did not legitimately deserve the help due to the assistance going to residences other than their primary home.

FEMA did not want to assist victims who asked for aid on vacation or rental properties.

Since Sandy, FEMA has given aid to 179,000 homes in New York and New Jersey; as well as sending funds to households in Connecticut, Maryland and Rhode Island.

So far nearly 90,000 victims have received letters from FEMA demanding disaster relief funds back; even though Congress has the authority to “waive the debt” from FEMA.

Susanne Posel, Occupy Corporatism


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