The Hurricane Sandy Task Force created to identify and correct problems with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program  meet today for the first time in Washington, D.C., and the head of the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group has been invited to speak on behalf of non-profit organizations. 

(Win McNamee, Getty Images)
(Win McNamee, Getty Images)

Sue Marticek, Director of the OCLTRG, and two other non-profit groups were asked to attend the meeting, which will also include Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator, New Jersey Democratic U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Corey Booker and two Senators from New York.

"My role is to really bring down the perspective of the non-profits that are working together with our clientele and to basically frame out the consequences of low payouts to the homeowners and what that has meant in the two and a half years since the storm," said Marticek.

The consequences of low payouts include homeowners with personal assets who were forced to dip into their savings or retirement accounts to rebuild, those who had to rebuild a smaller home and have lost equity in that home, and those who were forced to apply for state grants and have had to delay rebuilding while waiting to receive that funding, according to Marticek.

"It also roles into a secondary effect, which means that because they had to go and get state funding, there were additional HUD rule requirements that are tied into the state funding, such as lead and asbestos abatement, and many of those things increased the cost of the project," which Marticek described as "a blessing and a curse."

Marticek said the task force must identify problems with the NFIP so that it doesn't happen again with the next disaster and determine how to fix the situation right now.

"That is really the points I will be bringing, is that it needs to be done quickly, fairly, and it cannot be extremely burdensome on the homeowner," she said.

FEMA still has not announced a revised plan or process for reviewing low payouts or claims that were denied, but Marticek stressed whe will hammer home the point that it needs to be done in a timely manner and a simple and fair way.

Marticek added that the OCLTRC plans to offer free, educational work shops on how the new process of getting claims reviewed in the near future.

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