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Author Topic: Katrina victims may have to repay money  (Read 1050 times)

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Offline King_FurbyTopic starter

Katrina victims may have to repay money
« on: March 29, 2008, 11:05:48 PM »

Offline NightBird

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2008, 11:13:06 PM »
Typical. Businesses have damned few responsibilities for errors in the US anymore. The buck always bounces back to the consumer, even if it wasn't the consumer's error that caused the problem. It's like trying to argue with the collections company that you couldn't have been the one to order something from Columbia House two years after you moved out of the house and a year after you moved out of state.

Also, we should keep in mind that over half of the victims of Hurricane Andrew never received anything of the promised federal disaster aid. It primarily went to contractors, many of whom never actually existed.

*shrugs*

Business as usual, really. It sucks, but then that's just the way things are right now.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2008, 11:21:09 PM »
*stare*

It doesn't say how long ago this money was disbursed. This long after Katrina, it's probably been a while. Which means that they took the $150,00 they might have been overpaid, and probably built a house with it. So it's pretty possible that some of these people will be losing their houses - again - through no fault of their own. $175 million in overpayments? Give me a fucking break. That's sloppy, ridiculous, and totally out of line. And depending on their guidelines and how clear their standards are, it's possible that the people they paid to had no inkling they were getting overpaid. It's not like taxes where you're like "Hey ... got more back than I expected..." or something.

Preposterous. Shame on them.

Offline NightBird

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2008, 11:40:29 PM »
That's okay, the bankruptcy laws that went into place shortly before Katrina mean that there are still a lot of people out there who have to keep paying mortgages on homes that were destroyed. The ability to wipe out old debt through bankruptcy was removed for individuals, even military personnel in active service whose pay is in arrears, even victims of natural disasters, even people with crippling medical or legal debts. Gotta get tough with all the deadbeats, and who cares if innocent people are trapped the same way. If they're that broke, it's not like they matter to the current powers that be, anyway. But hold trustees responsible for handling bankruptcies in a timely and professional manner? Hell no. Why would we bother to do that? The worthless people who declare bankruptcy deserve whatever they get. It was even debated on the House floor to reinstitute debtor's prison.

Not that I have an attitude about it or anything...  :P

Offline Elvi

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2008, 04:53:51 AM »
Triste, it's been less than three years since Katrina, unfortunitely, in the scheme of things, that isn't a long time at all.
No...I'm not saying that people shouldn't have had money by now, lets face it there are those who haven't yet had a penny and my guess is that they are those who are the ones who should have had it in the first place.

As to fraud?
Hell, that would have happened anywhere, it's happened in this country, it'll happen anywhere that there is a major disaster that causes mass chaos.
However, there are people who have taken payments in good faith. They rae the ones who should have the debt written off.

My feeling is, go after the out and out frauds, go after the damned company.
Leave the poor sods who are really trying to get their lives back together and if, in the end, they must pay back overpayments, it should be at a very nominal sum and over a long period of time.
BUT most of all, sort out payments for those who haven't yet had a penny and let them start to move on at least.... 

Offline Trieste

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Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2008, 12:08:41 PM »
It wasn't that long ago in the grand scheme of things, but remember that Katrina was a huge, huge fiasco in the US. There was a massive movement to get the victims money now. Because of the Mayor's infantile screaming, most of the attention was on New Orleans, but the others along the Gulf Coast who were affected were also involved in the noise. For a long time, all one had to do was say 'Katrina victim' and pocketbooks would open like magic. My company (travel agency) is located about 5 hours east of New Orleans along I-10 and at the time of Katrina I was actually living on-site, and have family in Mobile, AL, which is only a couple hours along I-10 from New Orleans. All of us experienced a huge influx of 'refugees' after the storm, and many of our hotels had a free or low-rate hotel program set up for people to live nearby.

On the one hand, they did not heed the warnings. We watched Katrina coming. We watched the storm's internal pressure get to jaw-dropping proportions (can't remember now whether it was extreme high pressure or low; I think it's low pressure) which is a good measure of staying-power of a storm, and we watched it blow practically overnight from a category 1/2 rain drizzle to a category 5 monster. After what previous storms had been doing all over the Gulf coast those years, everyone knew the destruction that was to come. Not only that, New Orleans had been talking about what would happen if those levees broke for years. You can say all of this you want, and you can have as many reasons not to feel bad for them that you want.

But then you saw the newsclips, and the filmreels. You heard the interviews. You watched the devastation. And no amount of cynicism is going to stop people from trying to help. So a lot of those people could very well have gotten those sums within a year after Katrina. The article doesn't say... so I couldn't tell you for sure. All I can do is describe the emotional climate along the Gulf Coast after Katrina slammed into it. And I tell you, not only was there horror, but also a lot of guilt. For those of us that Katrina was aimed at prior to swinging toward Louisiana, there was a niggling guilty feeling because of having thought "Please, god, let this thing not hit us"... I'm not saying we wished the storm on anyone else, but it's pretty difficult not to feel unreasonably guilty and feel like you did.

With all of that going on, they probably got that money a long, long time ago. And it doesn't surprise me when they say that people who shouldn't have gotten a red cent were awarded the maximum. And those people may not have been looking to defraud anyone; they may have simply applied looking for help. That's why it's seriously annoying that this company is intending to make people repay money that's probably already spent. It'd be one thing if they called 2 days later and said "I'm sorry, you're going to have to send half of that back". But years after these cheques were probably disbursed? That's just asinine.

Edit: Sorry, went on a bit of a rant there. It's a touchy subject and I think I'm done replying. -_-;

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2008, 02:06:22 PM »
Trieste I had family in New Orleans and none had a car, how were people who relied on public transportation supposed to evacuate if the State and local governments didn't provide for it? Does anyone here live in a major US city like New York could they provide transportation to everyone without a car or who have special needs in 24 hours, even 48 hours? The people left behind are the ones that had no way to leave.

As for this issue its another example of State and local governments handing over their duties to the Federal Government, the last party I would trust for emergency relief save for the National Guard and military support. I have a relative living in a state affected their town contracted beforehand years ago with Walmart and other large national box retailers to bring in supplies and necessities. And in that case in 72 hours everyone was getting what they needed to recover and survive. They didn't sit there and not do their jobs as elected officials they planned for the worst and although it was painful that New Orleans fiasco wasn't happening. The government did expect families save in special needs cases provide for themselves as much as possible to stay in the window safe before help arrived. They even had a plan to move people who needed it with school buses to storm shelters and did that well before the storm hit.

One thing Bush had to have done is make a formal appeal for aid to the world community immediately and take all help offered. Cuba had doctors and medical help to send for example and we refused- the arrogance of that man cost lives I'm sure of it. I don't care if Iran offered us oil and money we should have taken it. And one could argue the Federal Government could send aid to the states later to assist them but I would never have said send the aid to local contractors and towns the States could have used it more wisely and carefully. If they had planned to take the immediate needs of their people into account and were ready on their own to tackle the disaster relief properly.

As I would see it as a voter in the city is I should provide for myself for a week, the government at the local and state level for the next few months and then the Federal Government with long term support to the state for rebuilding only and private chairty and foreign aid to fill in at that time. After the immediate needs are known and lives are secured properly. But the people failed to do what they had to do and the local and State governments were not prepared properly. Expecting any help quickly at the Federal level is ripe for abuses as was so demonstrated by the article provided.

Offline strangely made

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2008, 09:53:18 AM »
Trieste I had family in New Orleans and none had a car, how were people who relied on public transportation supposed to evacuate if the State and local governments didn't provide for it? Does anyone here live in a major US city like New York could they provide transportation to everyone without a car or who have special needs in 24 hours, even 48 hours? The people left behind are the ones that had no way to leave.

The simple answer is that they walk, roll, hobble or use what ever they can to get out of harms way. They pack what they need to survive for 72 hours (And ONLY what they NEED)  medication, official papers (Including mortgage documents, share certificates and such), food and clothes. They head away from the danger in the opposite direction as fast as they can. In an emergency it is the individuals responsibility to save them selves to allow the emergency services to get on and do their jobs with out the encumbrance of having to persuade perfectly able people that they need to leave. Unless you are completely bed ridden and need constant medical supervision there is always some way that the individual can help them selves and if needs be evacuate.

I know from talking to people who work for the emergency services that attended the flood at New Orleans that two thirds of those that stayed behind did so out of sheer bloody mindedness with the selfish mind set that it was up to the emergency services to evacuate them. That put other people lives in danger. 

Quote
As for this issue its another example of State and local governments handing over their duties to the Federal Government, the last party I would trust for emergency relief save for the National Guard and military support. I have a relative living in a state affected their town contracted beforehand years ago with Walmart and other large national box retailers to bring in supplies and necessities. And in that case in 72 hours everyone was getting what they needed to recover and survive. They didn't sit there and not do their jobs as elected officials they planned for the worst and although it was painful that New Orleans fiasco wasn't happening. The government did expect families save in special needs cases provide for themselves as much as possible to stay in the window safe before help arrived. They even had a plan to move people who needed it with school buses to storm shelters and did that well before the storm hit.

Good for them, sensible of them to plan ahead. But how many of the families actually provided for themselves? and how many said " Well if the supplies will be coming in why do we need to bother"

Quote
As I would see it as a voter in the city is I should provide for myself for a week, the government at the local and state level for the next few months and then the Federal Government with long term support to the state for rebuilding only and private chairty and foreign aid to fill in at that time. After the immediate needs are known and lives are secured properly. But the people failed to do what they had to do and the local and State governments were not prepared properly. Expecting any help quickly at the Federal level is ripe for abuses as was so demonstrated by the article provided.

Why just a week? why not a month? three months? Sure, help will probably eventually arrive, but what if it can't, what if the event is wide spread and the resources are so spread out that help (whether financial or physical) will take too long and be too little.

Offline strangely made

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2008, 10:04:04 AM »
Oh yes and on the subject of Katrina victims having to pay back 'overpayments'

It reads to me that the company in question is trying pull the wool over peoples eyes. They are being investigated and then suddenly they are sending out collections notices asking for money back. There is more going on in this issue than people are being told.  How is it that they are being so sharp in asking for overpayments back and yet there are more people who have been underpaid and are finding it difficult to get the company to acknowledge the fact.


Offline Sherona

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2008, 07:46:14 AM »
Living in Louisiana for a good ...number of years, no not going to state my age :P...I know first hand New Orleans people's mentality about Hurricanes and Those Levee breaking. There was always the "What If", lets face in its history New Orleans has 'sank' about 8 times, though not since those levees were built until Katrina.

Yet, every hurricane that swung towards NO was looked at with almost a ...contemptual look. Every other major Hurricane just about with the exception of Andrew in '94 was predicted to hit NO, and every time they swung away to only brush NO or hit The Carolinas. Hugo, Camille, are two of the biggies. NO's got into the habit of thinking "Ah this one will swing away too."

Ruby, that is an argument a lot of people have made "Only those who could not get out stayed" which is not true either. As S. said, unless you were physically handicapped then there is always walking. But again, NO people had the mentality of "Oh, it wont hit us" so why go through the trouble of doing as S. suggested? Tell you this, if it came down to it, me and my family are already packed and well prepared for a nice little stroll if we have to evacuate...with or without a vehicle, and I don't even live inHurricane country any more..now I live in Tornado Alley, and Tornado's you have less then an hour's warning unlike a Hurricane.

I was sitting in OK watching the news about Katrina, and I was calling my family in Louisiana "HEy, I know your ina bind...go to the western union..sent you money, go and get a bus ticket out.."

I feel badly for those who were sick, and ill. ANd please dont get this rant wrong..I do feel sorry for the Victims, both in NO and in Mobile, in Gulf Port, there was such a spread of disaster it overwhelmed our federal aid people, it overwhelmed everyone...We still ahve quite a few Refugees in my town from Katrina..I am just agreeing with a lot of people that a lot of those who stayed behind did so due to "It wont be so bad"...I promise you this, those who lived in South Dade county in 94 when Andrew wiped out the community, they do not stick around when a cat 3 hurricane is projected towardsthem..they do whatever is necessary to leave..an I guarantee those who lived t hrough Katrina will do the same.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2008, 11:32:14 AM »
My realtives didn't drive and one used a power wheelchair, with a range at a full charge on a good day of 20 miles. Far to short a distance to "get out of the way". I'm disabled I couldn't even walk to a county hurricane shelter on a cane and my power chair is not ideal bad weather tranportation. I registered with the county for tranportation but there is no assurance they would be able to get me out of the house. And I saw the traffic leaving the city the roads were packed and you wanted to add walkers who may be stuck outside when the storm hit.

As for walking out we had elderly and many children, to walk out of the hurricane strike zone with essentials and things you need in hot weathers seems rather stupid to expect. They had buses and an evacuation plan they just never tested or implimented it because they lacked drivers.

You seem to ignore the important role the local government has toa ssure their citizens are safely able to evacuate in a panned way, if dummies want to risk staying that is their choice but they didn't even try. And these were registered voters in the main I would think pissing them off if they lost their homes and had unreasonable hardships would force them to have acted properly.

Offline Sherona

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2008, 04:53:35 PM »
You seemed to have ignored the fact that both S. and myself had stated many times in our posts that "abled-body" people...those who can walk etc and so forth. A friend of mine has a Mother who lived outside of NO, who is parapalegic. The State took her and a bus load (probably more then that, but I can only attest to that single busload as I do not know of anyone else) north to Shreveport..which granted wasn't completely out of harms way but atleast they were not trapped in thier homes as the flood waters rose.



Offline Elvi

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2008, 05:21:58 PM »
Of course there was the option of using a manual wheelchair and having a family member or friend pushing it?

*wanders away again, because we have yet again gone way off topic*

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2008, 12:23:54 PM »
I remember driving out of New Orleans that day and listening to the radio.  We had a satellite radio and so had coverage up until the storm hit the city.  The main thrust of FEMA was that they would be there for New Orleans until the bitter end.  That they had emergency trailer camps throughout the United States still and they would rebuild New Orleans.  The government was going to be there to reimburse, rebuild and make sure our city could be habitable again.  Money was thrown around in those first few months like it was going out of style.  Texas gave us food cards, I got relocation checks, got aide from the Red Cross, was promised free medical care anywhere I went (though I did have insurance) and all sorts of things.  The United States was right there behind us and it felt great.  Then, I'd say about two months after, everything just stopped.

This paying back situation isn't the first we've heard.  I've been told multiple times that I might have to pay back the money I received.  Letter after letter came to my parents about proof of residency and damage inspections.  My mother and father stayed during the storm because they were required to by their jobs, yet they had the hardest time getting any money.  The aide has gone from being a assistance, to a gift, to a loan, and then finally to a mistake.  Hospitals in this area are no longer being reimbursed for staying open during the storm and for taking thousands of uninsured.  My own hospital has been operating in the red since the storm, because the state and federal government refuse to acknowledge the flood of uninsured. (Course that is what they say while buying up every vacant hospital in the area, but still denying us our raises.) Without Charity Hospital, private hospitals have to take those patients.

The Road Home program was a crap-shoot since it came about.  A golden promise if someone could jump through the hoops fast enough.  So many politicians and companies have dipped their hands into that program, I'm amazed to even hear its name.  Alot of people applied without the hope of getting anything.  Hell, my parents were happy they didn't own a house yet when that program started.  I'm not surprised that program took a hit and not surprised that the golden promise is dying in flames.  New Orleans politics at its finest.  Maybe that sounds bitter, but after so many years of false promises and dangled carrots...you just stop depending on them.

As for people getting out, you have to remember the year before.  Last hurricane season before Katrina had so many false alarms, that people were packing up almost every week.  The city was evacuated about three times I believe with even more recommended evacuations.  Looters destroyed homes and stores, so people were tired.  Poor people cashed in their savings that year and people lived through the fear regularly.  By the end of that season, people would've stayed if God himself had told them to go.  So I wasn't surprised by the resistance to Katrina.  Heck, I stayed up until my dad grabbed my shoulder and shoved me in a car.  Guess that was when I got hit by the severity of the whole thing.  Didn't really think I would see them again.  Anyway...nobody really thought the city would fall and it didn't, until the levees broke.

Nobody thought they would break.  Even after the event, people thought someone had blown them up.  That is how foreign it is in our minds.  The levees don't break, they're massive walls of earth.  They survive no matter what.  People would have told you before Katrina that only a bomb could takes those levees out, that they would be here after New Orleans was dust.  I remember playing on them when I was a little girl, remember having picnics on them with my friends, sunbathing on them after school, running on them while I was in college and watching the rising waters after a bad rain storm from ontop of them.  People built their houses right up against them, lived their entire lives in their shadow.  They weren't supposed to break.

Offline Sherona

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2008, 12:46:46 PM »
Quote
They weren't supposed to break.

exactly. There have been numerous reports that the levees were not built to withstand such a deluge of water, reports that said that they were built up to code but not maintained properly, reports that hte previous reports were wrong. But what it all boils down to...they werent suppose to break...no one believed they would...NO has been a whisper away from a Katrina-level incident for decades and each time the storms managed to skirt by..I am not saying i do not understand why people didn't feel the urgency that others did to leave..just saying that I bet now the will...


Offline Humble Scribe

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2008, 06:39:42 AM »
Disasters happen. That's just the way of things. I've seen an estimate that 80% of people were able to evacuate, which is a pretty good strike rate, and way better than any government should be planning for. The thing that turned Katrina from a natural disaster into a crisis was the ham-fisted and poorly coordinated response to it.

Offline Sherona

Re: Katrina victims may have to repay money
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2008, 11:44:17 AM »
exactly scribe. Government agencies dropped the ball big time there. disorganization, the finger pointing and blame laying sucked.