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Rice, Meeks & Sandy Victims Call on Congress to Stop FEMA Claw Backs

U.S. Representatives Kathleen Rice and Gregory Meeks held a press conference today with local officials and homeowners to highlight cases in which Superstorm Sandy victims have been ordered to repay portions of the funding they received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after the storm. Reps. Rice and Meeks called on Congress to pass the FEMA Disaster Assistance Reform Act of 2015. The legislation includes provisions that will authorize FEMA to waive such debts in instances where homeowners were overpaid through no fault of their own, and not because of fraud or misrepresentation. The press conference was held at the home of Elizabeth Treston, a Long Beach resident who was told two years after Sandy that she owed FEMA $4,500, and would be reported to the IRS or a collection agency if she failed to pay. As Newsday recently reported, FEMA has sent similar notices to nearly 1,000 local homeowners, seeking to recoup an average of about $6,500. In New York’s fourth congressional district, which Rice represents, FEMA is seeking to recoup more than $1.5 million from residents in Long Beach, more than $600,000 from residents in Freeport, and more than $555,000 from residents in Oceanside.”