Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FEMA mistakenly doles out millions, asks for it back | abc7chicago.com

Federal Emergency Management AgencyImage via Wikipediahttp://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8032799
The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave a west suburban woman thousands of dollars after last July's flood, but now the agency wants it back.
FEMA gave Lisa DiVito, of Elmwood Park, $3,400 after her home received thousands of dollars in flood damage last July. Now, FEMA said that payout was a mistake and the agency wants the money it gave Divito -- and thousands of others in similar situations-- back. The government admits its mistakes add up to more than half a billion dollars.
"It was bad, it was the worst I've ever seen," DiVito said of the July 2010 flooding in her Elmwood Park home. Flood water destroyed her basement and overwhelmed her pumping system with sewage. "Because the pressure built up the access panel shot off the wall and it was coming out full force like a fire hydrant."
After the July 2010 floods, FEMA organized relief for local victims and offered grants -- more than $300 million -- to help suburban homeowners rebuild.
"Disaster assistance wasn't designed to cover all your losses. Some losses that have occurred, all the money can't replace family heirlooms but it does help you begin that recovery process," Gene Romano, FEMA spokesperson, said in August 2010.
Divito applied for the program, sent FEMA information about the portion of damage her insurance company covered, and then received a FEMA check for $3,400 for more repairs. But six months later, DiVito got a letter demanding the money back -- and threatening to put her in collections if she didn't pay up.

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