Some Shore Residents Are Getting Billed for Sandy Aid
Post–Hurricane Katrina rules meant to combat waste and fraud in government relief efforts have ensnared 1,200 New Jersey residents in an effort to recoup $8 million, the state’s share of $23 million that the Federal Emergency Management Agency claims was wrongly paid, the Asbury Park Press reports:
A FEMA spokesman told the Asbury Park Press in a statement that the agency had provided $1.4 billion in assistance to nearly 183,000 Sandy survivors. FEMA routinely audits disaster assistance payments and, as of Oct. 31, just 2 percent — about 3,600 individuals or families — of those survivors had received recoupment letters, seeking payback for a combined $23 million that FEMA says never should have been paid out.
“Unfortunately, whether through fraud, human or accounting errors, or other reasons, assistance sometimes goes to individuals who are not eligible,” the statement reads.
As is usually the case with these tales of ham-handed government, the reporters found people who sure sound like they were eligible, including a disabled paralegal in Toms River:
FEMA’s letter claims there is no proof that Tango actually lived in the Candlelight Condominiums on Route 35, even though she has a lease and rent receipts to prove it. Tango said she moved into the condominium in late August 2012, and stayed there until she left shortly before Sandy struck. The condominium building, badly flooded by Sandy, was recently demolished.