Sep 13, 2002
Press Release

Washington, DC - Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Congressman Josè Serrano (D-NY), and Members of the New York Delegation sent a letter to Governor Pataki urging him to look into the high backlog and rejection rate of Individual and Family Grant program (IFG) applications. Governor Pataki recently extended the application deadline to January 31, 2003, but of the 51,469 applications that have been received, only 6,874 have been approved and 21,544 have been rejected, leaving a backlog of over 23,000 applications.

The IFG assists those affected by the September 11th terrorist attacks to "cover necessary expenses and serious disaster-related needs" including home repairs, replacement of personal property, transportation, reimbursement for damages, moving and storage, vacuums, and air purifiers.

"The Governor did the right thing by extending the deadline, but I believe more can be done to help those who are seeking help. Many New Yorkers are taking the appropriate steps to seek help as a result of the disaster, but are getting caught in red tape. Many applications have been rejected, and thousands more have yet to be reviewed," said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney in a statement today.

"It has been a year since the tragic attacks and many families are still waiting for assistance. More needs to be done. Bureaucracy and delay should not prevent the needed assistance from reaching those seeking help. We need to find out why there is such a backlog and figure out how to eliminate it," Congressman José E. Serrano stated.

In the letter signed by Congressman Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY), and Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), the following questions were asked of Governor Pataki:

Why does a backlog exist?

What steps are you planning to take to ensure that the applications are processed more quickly?

Will you request assistance from FEMA to deal with the current backlog?

Why does the rejection rate for applicants seem to be so high?

Is the rejection rate high because of the way the program is being implemented, or because the applicants legitimately are ineligible for assistance?

To view the letter in its entirety, please go to