Legislation introduced to shield Sandy victims from repaying federal funds

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It's been seven years since Superstorm Sandy pummeled Long Island, and a number of homeowners are still getting hit with having to repay funds that were supposed to help them.

Elise Gannon, of Massapequa, saw her home get destroyed during Sandy. Gannon applied for and received a Small Business Administration loan to rebuild. She later received funding from the state's New York Rising program to elevate her home.

Gannon says the federal government eventually came looking for repayment of funds that were considered a duplication of benefits.

"I had to pay back about $10,000," says Gannon.

As News 12 has reported, the federal government has accused Sandy survivors who received a federal loan and money from the state of double dipping even though they were encouraged to do so at the time.

To help homeowners like Gannon, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand introduced legislation Tuesday that would shield Sandy victims from the federal government's efforts to recoup that money. Similar federal legislation has shielded victims of other storms.

"We want the same waiver, and we're gonna fight tooth and nail to make sure we get it," says Gillibrand.

Sen. Gillibrand is working with Rep. Peter King to lead the bill through the House.

King tells News 12, "Congress and the federal government need to show those affected by Superstorm Sandy the same respect they have shown survivors from other recent storms by retroactively fixing the duplication of benefits problem. It is the right thing to do."

Gannon's case has been closed so she will not be able to benefit if the legislation is passed. Gannon says she hopes it passes and can help the many people who are still struggling with the idea of having to pay thousands of dollars back to the government.


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