Where’s our money?

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“They looked up my claim the hardest way possible, using a phone number,” Goldstein said. “Why didn’t they use my Social Security number?”

Asked about the processing of claims and getting people answers to their questions as quickly as possible, Johnson said that FEMA representatives are trained to be empathetic. “We deal with their problems as best as possible,” said Johnson, who lives in Atlanta and whose first FEMA assignment was Hurricane Katrina.

Less angry last Sunday, but no less frustrated, was Far Rockaway resident Elliott Friedman, who said that FEMA keeps filing his claim as if he has flood insurance, even though Friedman, who has lived in his house for 12 years, does not. “I’ve called the FEMA hotline two times to find out why I can’t get any money,” said Friedman, who had three feet of water in his house. “In between, I’ve been denied. I don’t know if it’s their mistake or an insurance error, but it’s still showing I have flood insurance. Hopefully we can get it solved.”

Jeff Rosenthal was a bit more satisfied with the assistance he received. Rosenthal, who has lived in his Woodmere home for 23 years, said he filed a claim less than a week after the storm but has yet to receive any money with which to repair the house, which was damaged by water from his crawl space that seeped up to the first floor. Denied housing assistance, he, his wife and three dogs are still living there.

“I spoke to an insurance person,” Rosenthal said. “I will sit down with an adjuster on Dec. 15.”

Flooding virtually destroyed the first floor of Ira Brown’s North Woodmere home. It was the first time he had suffered this much damage since he moved in in 1986. “First time there was a drop of water in the house,” Brown said, adding that he found the center helpful. “They had a lot of information, and they explained a lot about the programs and different aspects and how future sources of funds become available. I recommend people talk to FEMA.”

Disaster Center Hours of operation
The Disaster Recovery Center is in the Saul Kaufmann Social Hall at Young Israel of Woodmere, at 859 Peninsula Blvd. It is open Sunday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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