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Pallone, Watson Coleman, Kim, Pascrell Secure One-Year Reprieve for Sandy Victims, Vow to Keep Fighting

December 22, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC - Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) today announced a one-year delay in recoupment efforts for debt owed to the federal government in relation to Superstorm Sandy has been included in the year end federal spending bill. These recoupment efforts known as “clawbacks” have blindsided homeowners because many New Jersey residents applied for loans and benefits offered by various federal programs based on the federal government’s recommendation.

“New Jersey families were decimated by Superstorm Sandy and are still on the hook for millions of dollars in federal clawbacks through no fault of their own. A one-year delay in recoupment of these funds will help thousands of New Jersey families. My colleagues and I will continue fighting for full relief in the next Congress,” said Congressman Pallone. “I’m thankful that Governor Murphy has already frozen recoupment of these funds at the state level. I vow to continue fighting for Sandy survivors and New Jersey homeowners in the next Congress.”

The one-year delay pushes the deadline for recoupment from 2022 to 2023 and will provide relief for families currently required to pay back disaster relief funds they received after Superstorm Sandy. Many homeowners who received relief funds have been required to repay some or all the funds, creating a financial burden during the economic crisis. Representatives Pallone, Kim, and Watson Coleman, as well as Senator Menendez, introduced the Security After Sandy Act in May, which would provide broad and full relief for Sandy victims.

"It's been a long eight years for Sandy families, and being able to reform an unfair and broken disaster recovery system and permanently stop clawbacks is the news we wanted to see out of Washington. We're proud of our New Jersey delegation for fighting to move the ball forward on clawback forgiveness and incredibly disappointed that Senate Republicans and the Administration rejected efforts to provide broad relief for families. What it does mean is we have another year to keep fighting for what our communities deserve, and that's exactly what we will do," said Joe Mangino, New Jersey Organizing Project Board President.

“America came together after Superstorm Sandy to help New Jerseyans through a very dark period,” said Congresswoman Watson Coleman. “Now almost a decade later, some families face the prospect of having to pay back money that was erroneously given to them through no fault of their own, even when the family member who received them has passed away, their home was foreclosed upon, or they filed bankruptcy. The inclusion of this provision will go a long way to help rectify this situation and help families put some of the lingering pain of Sandy behind them during this difficult time for New Jersey families.”

"This extension is a step in the right direction as we work towards a complete solution for our neighbors still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy,” said Congressman Andy Kim. “I look forward to continuing the fight alongside our advocates in Ocean County and my colleagues in the House."

“Even years later, Garden Staters are still coping with the damage left by Sandy and worried about storms on the horizon. As a state, we insisted on big federal support in the days after Sandy. Since then, we pushed for arbitrary deadlines to be removed,” said Congressman Pascrell. “Our delegation has never for a day stopped working to make sure that our neighbors get the support they need to be made whole again and are fully protected from future hurricanes. I want to thank our state’s Appropriations leader Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, and outgoing Chairwoman Nita Lowey for her constant attention to our state and region.”

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