On the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the Deputy Federal Coordinator for FEMA in New Jersey Bill Vogel told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that FEMA is still fully engaged in helping the Garden State.
Vogel thinks that the effort made by FEMA in New Jersey has been outstanding, judging by the FEMA team’s work with the state and the individuals that needed help. “They have given their level best to make sure that they have given everyone the maximum amount of support that they can,” Vogel said.
Ninety-nine percent of flood insurance claims have been closed and FEMA has paid out $3.5 billion from the National Flood Insurance Policy to the state, Vogel said.
Vogel said that many people may be unaware of what is on their insurance policy, which is why FEMA has created a hotline that anyone can call if they are unsatisfied with the answers they have gotten from their insurance companies. The hotline number is 877-287-9804. Vogel said that FEMA can help anyone and has already been very helpful to a number of people who have called the hotline.
In New Jersey, there is not a stable FEMA team because people come from all over the country and spend a certain amount of time in the state. Vogel said that they try to make sure that the incoming FEMA team members are given all the right information to keep the system going and help the applicants get all the support that they need.
FEMA can only reimburse a municipality for damage that was caused by the storm, not for maintenance that needed to be done before it hit. So there are a lot of circumstances that need to be examined before FEMA can make a final eligibility determination, Vogel explained.
Vogel said that FEMA is still fully engaged in helping New Jersey with a team of more than 300 people.
“We’re going to be here for just as long as it takes to make sure everyone gets every penny that they are entitled to and we are going to work with the state of New Jersey just as long as it takes,” Vogel said.