In 2012, Hurricane Sandy raged up the east coast of the United States, leaving devastation in her path. Many long-term care residents were evacuated to shelters and remained there for some time. A number of assisted living residents at Belle Harbor Manor, located on New York's Rockaway Peninsula, received disaster aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA is now trying to recoup some of the disaster aid that was issued to nearly a dozen of Belle Manor’s residents. Notices were sent indicating that the person was ineligible for the funds, which were to be used for temporary housing. The residents in question, however, were moved around to state-funded shelters.
The demand letters from FEMA state that the agency must be reimbursed by Nov. 15. Most of the residents receiving the notices are elderly, frail and of low income. Belle Manor resident Robert Rosenberg received the FEMA letter demanding a $2,486 repayment or to file an appeal.
Rosenberg suffers from a spinal disability, along with other chronic health problems. “We’re on a fixed income. I don’t have that kind of money,” he told The Washington Post.
FEMA workers urged displaced residents to apply for assistance but were never told that the money could only be used for housing, according to Rosenberg.
Other recoupment actions involve recovering funds incorrectly issued for damaged vacation homes or rental properties, applications from more than one household member and payments made that were eventually covered by insurance.
Local attorneys have offered to assist residents with their appeals.