Wait....what? You are telling me I owe $2,000 dollars of money rewarded to me from hurricane Katrina because I didn't verify my occupancy? Better yet are you saying it's due in 30 days? Didn't this happen 6 years ago?
Now I understand why FEMA wants to make sure people didn't falsify records to essentially steal money from the government or use money unneeded when I hear songs like the following by 10th Ward Buck (listen below):
However just because he's talking about spending the money to go shopping I still feel he's entitled to it because he lived in New Orleans during Katrina and lost his home and all his possessions...what someone chooses to with the money is their own deal. However, I had the following issues with this letter and better yet what the representative had to say to me on the phone
1. Why am I getting the first notification EVER about the fact I need to verify my residency during the storm 6 years later?! Her response: "We sent you a letter in 2005 asking you to verify your residency." Oh...ok...so you sent a letter to an address in a city that had become the Lost City of Atlantis and where most people had evacuated. That makes sense.
2. If the money was wired to me in a bank in Kansas City and I provided a forwarding address why the hell wouldn't you have used that forwarding address about...I dunno...5 years ago? Her response: "We called you on your cellphone number in 2008." Oh...ok...because it's not possible that I got a new cellular phone number. That makes sense.
3. If I lived in an apartment how would I be able to verify that I lived there 6 years ago? Her response: "Provide a utility bill." Oh...ok....let me find that 6 year old utility bill. Perhaps it washed up somewhere in the city and I can go hunt it down.
Bottom line is the government is working overtime to collect money from people who they KNOW can't verify their residency because of the circumstance of the hurricane, which is ratchet as all hell. I am lucky that I lived in a residence hall on my campus at the time. If you lived on campus follow these steps for your appeal:
1. Locate the address where you are supposed to send your appeal documentation. It's not the same address as the one on the envelope and it may be different depending on where when you recieved the funds and you were relocated.
2. Contact your school's fiscal office and have a copy of your payment statement sent to you showing you paid tuition which included housing.
3. Contact your school's housing department. They will draft a letter (which I am told FEMA has been accepting) stating you lived on campus during this time.
4. Draft a letter explaining why you are appealing having to pay the money back and what documentation you are enclosing. Make sure it's notarized. Also make sure your FEMA number, the disaster number, and the last 4 of your social are enclosed on ALL documents you send. Also send a photo copy of your ID with this
5. Fax AND mail the package to the FEMA. Make sure to keep a copy for yourself. Do it ASAP as you have 30 days to either return/pay the money or 60 days to appeal.
This is a prime example of this whole 99% and 1% thing. I can only imagine the people who are struggling to get documents out of some archive to appeal having to pay money back to them.