Neal Barton's POV

FEMA, closed for winter?


POSTED: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 8:13pm

UPDATED: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 3:09pm

This from today's New York Post.

Looks as if FEMA is just a fair-weather friend. A snow storm hits the New York City area and FEMA puts out a sign which says "closed because of weather."

Does this sound like a government-run operation or what?

The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports this:

Panic has turned to anger. Homeowners looking to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance to rebuild their homes are learning they won't get the immediate aid they expected. And maybe no aid at all.

"It's a nightmare," said Brick resident Justine Davis. "We have no idea what to do at this point."

"I'm livid. The entire contents of my home is on the front lawn, but we do not qualify," Highlands resident Kathy Self asked. "This is the way we start out? This is the bureaucracy?"

While the federal agency has approved $210 million in financial assistance - mostly in vouchers for hotel rooms - aid for rebuilding homes damaged or destroyed last week isn't flowing as smoothly.

FEMA won't award grants for damage to second homes. I saw why not? You paid your premium!

It won't duplicate benefits paid by private insurance, so homeowners must settle claims before FEMA will evaluate.

That's according to the head to FEMA, Craig Fugate.

Storm victim, Kathy Self told the paper none of this was explained.

After registering with FEMA, an agent came to her house, assessed the damage, and gave her a claim number to check on the next day. She called the FEMA hotline as directed and heard this brief statement: "You do not qualify."

FEMA public information officer Alberto Pillot explained the message she heard applies only to the initial grant program.

"Nobody gets denied," Pillot said. "They are waiting for that insurance claim to come in, that information has to be processed."

Self wonders why the FEMA agent didn't just say that.

"Why didn't (FEMA) say pending?," she said. "Why would be totally denied? I'm ready to cry."

Others question the agency's decision about secondary residences.

"I don't why that should matter. We pay into just like anybody else does," Ken Fisko said. "It's government funded, and we all know we fund the government."

Pillot said most of the confusion about FEMA coverage and assistance results from a misunderstanding of FEMA's mission.

"FEMA is just temporary assistance," he said. "The disaster loans are meant to get you back where you were."

You think this is confusing?

Just wait until you go to the medical exchange to get your knee replaced.

That's my point of view, what's yours?

You can email me at or Facebook me at KETK Neal Barton.



Comments News Comments

I wonder if Obama will get as much heat for FEMA failure in New Jersey as Bush did for New Orleans. Nah!. Aint gonna happen. Bush is more apt to get the blame than Obama.

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