VENTNOR, NJ – When Angelique Carlin and her children lost everything in their Ventnor home to Superstorm Sandy, they were glad to receive federal aid to rent an apartment.
Now, more than 3 years after the storm, the government is taking the money back.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Winter Weather Advisory In Effect For Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley As Snow Moves In
“So they took about $8,000 from my federal and state income tax check and now they’re taking another $4,000 from my pay checks,” says Carlin.
Carlin says she received 6 months worth of FEMA rent assistance and has the receipts to show how she used it.
She says a little over a year ago FEMA told her that she had to pay the money back, offering no explanation.
Her account went to the Department of Treasury for collection where she requested an appeal.READ MORE: Daniel Moore, Hero Pilot In Drexel Hill Medical Helicopter Crash, Released From Philadelphia Hospital
She says she never heard back about the appeal, and at tax time this year, money was taken for the first time from her refund.
“I count on that money at the end of the year to catch up on my bills,” says Carlin.
Senator Bob Menendez and other members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation are fighting with FEMA so the agency doesn’t collect repayment from people who did not intentionally take improper aid.
As of February 25, FEMA sent out 1,365 recoupment letters in New Jersey to aid recipients telling them to pay back the money they received.
For people who either missed their appeal window, or refused to pay, the Treasury can collect as much as 30 percent interest.MORE NEWS: Ex-Bordentown Police Chief Frank Nucera, Jr. Granted Delay On Reporting To Prison
Menendez’s office encourages people with recoupment letters who feel they should not repay the money to contact their office or your local Congressional representative.