FEMA pumps more than $6.9 billion into New Jersey to cover Superstorm Sandy damage

Associated Press

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it has pumped more than $6.9 billion into New Jersey more than two years after Superstorm Sandy struck.

FEMA says the money has reimbursed municipalities for clearing debris, restored boardwalks and rebuilt critical facilities.

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FEMA says it approved nearly $423 million in payments to Sandy survivors and paid out more than $3.5 billion in flood insurance claims to policyholders whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

The program has drawn scrutiny from Congress after allegations of fraud involving how some insurance companies assessed damage after the October 2012 storm that killed 71 people in the state and cost the country $65 billion.

Insurers have denied any wrongdoing, but FEMA officials agreed to provide Sandy victims who think their insurance claims were not fairly paid out a chance for a review. The review could include up to 144,000 claims and won't limit corrective action to the 2,200 that are in litigation.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey and Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand of New York will launch a Sandy task force Tuesday. The panel will examine problems with FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program that arose after Sandy and develop recommendations to correct them.

FEMA has allotted $162 million for communities to buy flood-prone properties and $51 million to elevate homes in flood-prone areas.