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Sandy Reimbursement Offered This Week

Hopatcong residents can sign up starting Monday to apply for reimbursement from the Sussex County Department of Human Services.

Residents who incurred any non-food expenses during Superstorm Sandy may be able to receive reimbursement, according to a release from Mayor Sylvia Petillo.

The Sussex County Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services, will be providing Emergency Disaster Assistance for Hopatcong residents starting Monday through Dec. 4.

Residents can sign up to receive reimbursement at the Hopatcong Fire House Company No. 3. 

Residents must bring proof of identification and residency, proof of income, and any receipts for out of pocket expenses between Oct. 28 and Nov. 26.

The net monthly income during the expensed period—net pay plus any liquid assets such as a checking account—for a family of one is $2,268, and increases by family size.

Here are the scheduled times for residents to sign up for reimbursements:

Date Time Serving Residents Whose Last Name Begins With: Nov. 26 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A to L Nov. 27 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. A to L Nov. 28 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. M to Z Nov. 29 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. M to Z Nov. 30 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A to L Nov. 30 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. M to Z Dec. 3 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All Alphabet Dec. 4 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. All Alphabet
k November 26, 2012 at 07:32 PM
guidelines can be found at this site http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/news/press/2012/approved/20121120b.html
Concerned Parent November 26, 2012 at 10:20 PM
If gas/stores were cash only how do we provide any proof of receipts?
Peter James November 26, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Are generators, gas cans, and gas covered?
Stevie November 27, 2012 at 12:28 PM
This NJ state agency web site contradicts the patch,com article above, and contradicts all of the info at the NJ food stamp program web site and brochures on-line. Each one has a different limit on monthly income, and all of them disqualify most NJ residents hardest hit by this storm.
Peter James November 27, 2012 at 02:26 PM
would be nice if patch could actually provide useful info vs simply a snippet which does not even provide a URL (thanks to "k" for picking up where patch dropped the ball)
Stevie November 27, 2012 at 04:04 PM
This patch.com article was written AFTER the program started. Once again, both the Borough and the County deliberately left Hopatcong residents in the dark. As of a few seconds ago, the only word about this at the Boro’s web site is a floating line of difficult to read click-able text that leads you to web page with three URL’s for documents that describe emergency resources available to residents. This unsigned “release” on an otherwise blank page with no header or other info was created last week (November 20 at 4:07:39 p.m.) and then uploaded to the Boro’s web site on November 21 at 2:19 a.m. (time stamp on the file itself). So, if the Mayor knew on November 21 that the County would be here to accept applications for assistance, why did it take her 7 days (and one day too late) to let anyone know?
Stevie November 27, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I just found the Sussex County press release, dated 11/20/12, and it has MORE requirements for eligibility, including showing proof you paid your credit card accounts (for credit card purchases claimed) by *11/26/12*. I just got off the phone with a receptionist for Sussex County Social Services. She confirmed that this program is only for CASH and DEBIT purchases, NOT for credit card purchases. Obviously if we only found out about this last night or today, we can’t show that our credit card account(s) have been PAID IN FULL by YESTERDAY. County also didn’t have a clue how “liquid assets” could be considered “income.” But there’s more, such as bank statements for the period 10/28/12 through 11/26/12, per the release. What if you don’t get yours until middle or late next week (like mine)? County didn’t have an answer for that, either. All I got was a transfer to a “supervisor” who will be “in and out” of the office until early next week…because of the disaster assistance program. You can find the Hopatcong Boro’s release at: http://www.hopatcong.org/EMERGENCYDIS.pdf And you can find the Sussex County’s more detailed release on this program at: http://www.sussex.nj.us/Documents/20121120MediaRelease-D-SNAP-2012-Sandy.pdf?nl=1
Stevie November 28, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Before anyone flies off the handle about this program (myself included), I just got back from speaking with the Sussex County people at the firehouse and have an update. A lot of the information in the patch.com article above is not correct. That’s not patch.com’s fault, it comes right from the Sussex County press release, which is also not correct. The Mayor’s and the State’s press releases just made everything worse. This special program, apparently, uses both NET income AND assets. The numbers in the table above are for the combination of both. This is a big change from the SNAP program that uses GROSS income. But don’t let that stop you from going to speak with the County people about eligibility. It’s a little more complex than a simple paragraph in a web site comment can cover. One important item is the bank statements showing all checking and savings transactions. If you don’t have a statement for that period yet, a printout from your bank’s web site will do (my bank’s statement won’t be produced for another week or two and covers that period). Expect to be required to explain all deposits (i.e. does it match your pay stubs, or is it reimbursement for an expense?). But best of all, is to ask all of your questions directly of the Sussex County D-SNAP people while they are here.
Stevie November 28, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Also, don’t worry about the “credit card accounts paid in full,” that information I got over the phone from the County was wrong, too. All they would be looking for would be a payment for the same credit card account that was used to purchase the items being claimed (before 11/26/12) that is as much or more than the total of the items you are claiming. Again, speak with the County representatives to understand what they want you give them to prove that you really did buy those items (whether or large or small).
james November 28, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Let the scamming begin.....
Stevie November 28, 2012 at 10:15 PM
No, “scam” isn’t the correct term. It’s FRAUD. I just got back from seeing the county D-SNAP people and once we got to the interview, everything stopped because of one item…my checking account balance at the beginning of the storm. Although the program repeatedly specifies “net income,” apparently they (Sussex County and the US Dept. of Agriculture) have adopted their own definition of the term. They count “net income” as the total of your checking and savings accounts plus ALL the cash deposited in your accounts during the period. They do NOT count silly things like reimbursement of your expenses (for others that were charged to a credit card account) that appears as cash deposit, insurance settlements, medical savings account reimbursements, or any thing else that the IRS and rest of the federal government do NOT count as “income.” Even a high school student taking introductory accounting should pick up on this routine in a heartbeat. It was pointless explaining to the County what was and wasn’t “income” on my bank statements, nor the fact that after about 8 p.m. the evening of the storm, the only “liquid assets” I had was the $50 in my pocket, since my bank was shut down in this entire region for several weeks.
Stevie November 28, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Anyone thinking of applying for this program…think again. Apparently the “corrected” information I posted about yesterday (based on what I was told by a County representative at the firehouse), was again more bogus nonsense. The County’s requirements for eligibility vary with the person you speak with, the person who interviews you, and probably the time of day and phase of the moon. Sussex County’s definition of “net income” appears to be: Your checking account balance at the beginning of the storm plus ALL deposit items, PLUS the cash in your pocket (and I’m NOT kidding). Did you pick up some extension cords or tools for a friend during the storm, and they gave you a check to cover your credit card receipt? Sussex County will count that as INCOME since it appears as a deposit and was “available to you” to use to spend for your storm-related expenses. Then they compare that total (of what I don’t know) and compare it to the table in the County press release. THE COUNTY IS COUNTING YOUR BEGINNING BANK BALANCES AS INCOME FOR THE 30 DAYS FOLLOWING THE STORM, REGARDLESS OF WHERE IT CAME FROM. Show them an accountant’s spreadsheet with a "NET INCOME" calculation for the period, or explain anything about what the IRS or State of NJ considers as “income,” and they’ll show you the door. And that's NOT a joke.
Roseanne Marie S. November 29, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I feel your pain Stevie. Once again the agencies that should be providing us with assistance have adopted the Look Busy(or should I say Sympathetic), but Do Nothing stance. I don't know who's worse JCP&L, Social Services, or our very own administration. We have all had enough of the step and fetch routine we are all being led through again and again with no end in site. I really hope that our fellow New Jersey residents who have lost everything aren't being treated the same way. I have gotten to the point that I don't believe a single thing "our" Gov't officials say regarding assistance with Sandy Damage at all. We have been through enough and we are all tired of the games, so either provide us with real help or leave us alone to do what we have been doing all along.....Fend for Ourselves.
Stevie November 30, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Roseanne, I’m not as much upset about not getting anything from that program as I am about how dishonest the Sussex County administration is in its operation. Based on what I described above (answers I got from three different County people within the course of two days), it is impossible to determine if you may qualify. And we MUST be able to independently figure this out for ourselves, so we can audit the County’s results and determine if they’ve been fair or if the County violated the law, themselves. Did you buy a generator and fuel after the storm? You had to have paid for them in full (either cash or the equivalent amount paid toward your credit card account by 11/26/12) to be able to claim the expense. But then Sussex County will count that cash you used to pay for those items AGAINST you (lowering the maximum bank balance allowed), since the Sussex County interviewer told me, you could have used those funds for your storm expenses. I’m sure more people can think of better ridiculous scenarios. As you can see, this is so absurd that to call the author of such a poorly planned and executed government program, an “imbecile,” would be an insult to imbeciles. Some person who’s really angry should be writing some letters about this and get somebody’s attention to this scam in progress.
Stevie November 30, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Not intending to continue to beat a dead horse, but I found the REAL requirements for the D-SNAP program at the USDA web site at this URL: http://www.fns.usda.gov/disasters/response/D-SNAP_Handbook/D-SNAP_handbook.pdf According to the USDA, lost or destroyed food IS an allowable expense, yet Sussex County specifically said it was NOT allowed. USDA says that bank balances are not “liquid assets” if the bank is closed or inaccessible for a substantial portion of the disaster period. My bank was closed in the tri-state area, and the local branch was closed for almost 2 weeks (half the disaster period). Sussex County didn’t want to hear about it. Bottom line, HERE is the USDA formula to determine eligibility (to meet the max gross income limit): Total Take-home income + Accessible liquid assets – Disaster-related-expenses = Disaster Gross Income Limit There you have it; D-SNAP eligibility can NOT be determined until AFTER the calculation has been completed. NOT after ONLY looking at your beginning bank balances. Bring a copy of the handbook I mentioned above, and if one of the interviewers tries to dismiss you before calculating ALL of these items, do NOT leave the room until they have. DEMAND that they follow the USDA handbook procedure and don’t take “no” for an answer.

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