Deadline Extended for Filing Flood Insurance Claims
Hurricane Sandy victims will have another six months to file FEMA flood insurance claims.
In a bulletin issued yesterday FEMA announced it will extend the period for Sandy-impacted homeowners to file claims. The National Flood Insurance Program, managed by FEMA, originally required Sandy victims to file a proof of loss form, which is a statement on the amount of damage they are claiming, by Oct. 29 — a year after the storm hit. But many families haven’t been able to meet the deadline as they wait for repair work, or become aware of new expenses as repairs continue. The window after previous natural disasters has never been longer than a year, so this extension is an unprecedented move. It comes after pressure from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
According to an article on moremonmouthmusings.net (click here for complete article),nearly two dozen Senators and members of Congress from New York and New Jersey — including Senators Robert Menendez and Jeff Chiesa and Representatives Jon Runyan, Frank LoBiondo, Rob Andrews, Bill Pascrell and Rodney Frelinghuysen — signed on to a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate last week. In it, they argued that many of their constituents have been mired in bureaucratic red tape and are only just starting the recovery process, so they need more time to complete the paperwork.
“While we are aware that FEMA has the authority to approve on a case-by-case basis claims submitted after the one-year deadline,” the letter stated, “we believe that a blanket extension for every homeowner should be in place to ensure a fair and proper process for everyone. To deny these claims based purely on the timing of their paperwork pulls the rug out from underneath homeowners who are relying on their flood insurance policies to repair and rebuild their homes.”
Congressman Pascrell noted that “Many homeowners that were devastated by Sandy were only made aware of additional expenses once the rebuilding process started. This extension will provide families with the additional time needed to ensure a fair process in filing their flood insurance claims and receiving the full benefits they are entitled to,” he said.
The change applies to Sandy-impacted homeowners in all the affected states who suffered losses between October 25th and November 6th, 2012. FEMA is now giving them until the end of April and says it will monitor claim activity to determine if further extensions may be warranted.
If you have any questions concerning your flood insurance claim or deadlines, contact United Policyholders (here)or Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (here). Volunteer Lawyers for Justice also has a toll free helpline, 855-301-2525.
To view Governor Christie’s press release, click here.