TRENTON, NJ - Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove have all signed onto legislation intended to address circumstances in which Superstorm Sandy victims are required to repay overpayments in Sandy assistance aid.
Sen. Jennifer Beck’s legislation created foreclosure protections for victims of Superstorm Sandy. Applications are now being accepted by DCA. (FEMA)
Specifically, the companion legislation, S-3149 and A-4784, concerns adversely impacted homeowners impacted by the “clawback” of Community Disaster Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds awarded through the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Program (RREM) and the Low-to-Moderate Income Homeowner Rebuilding Program (LMI).
The 9th District Delegation issued the following statement regarding its sponsorship of the legislation:
“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. 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.”
Key provisions of S-3149 and A-4784, introduced by Legislative District 15 representatives Senator Shirley Turner (D-15) and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, respectively, would:
- Require the DCA to notify a Sandy-impacted homeowner that has received an overpayment of RREM or LMI funds that must be repaid to the State.
- Provide that a Sandy-impacted homeowner may pay the debt in full in one lump sum or, if there are insufficient assets, apply for a repayment plan.
- Provide that if a Sandy-impacted homeowner does not have sufficient income, assets, or resources to make payments, the debt, except for any portion that a Sandy-impacted homeowner can pay through disposable assets, will be compromised and considered paid in full.
- Permit a Sandy-impacted homeowner to appeal, in writing, the DCA’s determination that they received an over-disbursement of RREM or LMI funds.