9th District Delegation Signs On to Sandy ‘Clawback’ Bill to Assist Storm Victims

Jun 07, 2017

Sen. Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove have signed onto legislation that addresses Superstorm Sandy assistance aid over-disbursement. Specifically, the companion bills – S-3149 and A-4784 – concern homeowners affected by the “clawback” of Community Disaster Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds awarded through the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Program and the Low-to-Moderate Income Homeowner Rebuilding Program.

Key provisions of S-3149 and A-4784, introduced by District 15’s Sen. Shirley Turner and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, respectively, would: require the Department of Community Affairs to notify Sandy-impacted homeowners who have received an over-payment of RREM or LMI funds that must be repaid to the state; provide that homeowners may pay the debt in full in one lump sum or, if there are insufficient assets, apply for a repayment plan; provide that, if the homeowners do not have sufficient income, assets or resources to make payments, the debt, except for any portion that homeowners can pay through disposable assets, will be compromised and considered paid in full; and permit homeowners to appeal, in writing, the DCA’s determination that they received an over-disbursement of funds.

“As representatives of a district that was among those hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy, it’s clear to us that demands by the government for repayment of Sandy assistance aid are allowing for persons to be victimized again,” the 9th District legislators said in a joint statement. “Recently, our delegation had the opportunity to hear some of the horror stories of ‘clawback’ victims during a recent meeting with the New Jersey Organizing Project.

“Through no fault of their own, certain Sandy victims face the very real prospect of financial ruin. These extreme cases represent government at its worst: a callous bureaucracy that doesn’t hold itself to the same rigorous standards that Sandy victims were held to in the application process to receive assistance. It’s obvious that further protections for Sandy victims need to be enacted.” —J.K.-H.

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