Cynthia and her husband Doug own a small home in Broad Channel, Queens, which was severely damaged during Sandy. The couple hired an engineer who identified structural problems and recommended that the entire house be demolished and rebuilt. But their insurance company disputed the severity of the damage and whether it had all been caused by Sandy. As a result, the couple received only limited funds from their insurance company – not nearly enough to cover the massive repairs.
When they contacted NYLAG in October 2013, Cynthia and Doug were struggling to navigate multiple claims and disputes with their flood insurer and a number of government agencies and recovery programs. NYLAG first reviewed their flood insurance appeal, which had been denied, and determined that it was likely to succeed with revisions. A NYLAG attorney helped the couple prepare a new Proof of Loss and supplemental claim. Within weeks, they received an additional $50,000 from their flood insurer.
NYLAG also helped Cynthia and Doug take advantage of New York City’s Build it Back program, a fund set up to help communities recover from Sandy. Their initial request for funding had not been approved because Build it Back officials knew that the couple had been approved for a federal government loan shortly after Sandy, although they had never actually drawn down those funds. Based on the approval, Build it Back was assuming they had access to an additional $110,000 in recovery funds. A NYLAG paralegal evaluated their household finances, including their current income, assets and expenses, and determined that they could not actually afford to take the federal loan, as they would never be able to repay it. NYLAG then helped them successfully apply for a financial hardship waiver of the loan. As a result, the Build it Back program recalculated their application, making them eligible for an additional $110,000 in Build it Back funds. Two years after the storm, Cynthia and Doug are waiting for final approvals, and looking forward to finally having the money to rebuild their home, and their lives.