Poor Management Threatens 9/11 Aid Program

Sep 30, 2002
Press Release
NEW YORK: A federal 9/11 aid program is being severely mismanaged by the New York State Department of Labor, according to data made available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other records compiled by the office of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY). The Individual and Family Grants program (IFG) allows for nearly $15,000 for lost or damaged property and home repairs after national disasters, but only half of 73,000 applications after 9/11 have been reviewed to date, and average aid provided through the program in New York ($1,039) is less than half what has typically been provided to individuals in other disasters around the country ($2,586). In addition, the 13.8% approval rate for accepted applications after 9/11 is far lower than the IFG program's approval rate after other national disasters.
After a thorough review of the IFG program's implementation in New York, Reps. Maloney and Serrano organized letters signed by five other New York members of Congress to Governor George Pataki and FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh, urging that the program be transferred to FEMA and reformed immediately.

Rep. Maloney said "Of all the problems we've seen in the delivery of aid so far, the failures of the IFG program are really the worst, not only because the state should have known better after witnessing FEMA's previous problems, but more so because this program is a last resort for people when other sources for help fall through. The State Labor Department's sluggish review of applications, the high rejection rate, the inferior level of aid provided compared to other disasters, and the bureaucratic hurdles that constituents have complained about are all unnecessary and totally unacceptable. We're calling on FEMA to take over the program, because they've reformed other aid programs effectively and we can expect more New Yorkers to get the help they need if this program is better managed."

Rep. Serrano said, "The state has failed to adequately handle its responsibility to help those trying to recover from September 11th. Because of this mishandling of its responsibilities, the state should relinquish its role in the IFG program and hand over all activities to FEMA. We have seen FEMA finally develop a solid track record since September 11 and we can expect them to address the needs of 9/11 families more adequately than has been the case to date."

Joining Maloney and Serrano in the letters to Pataki and Allbaugh, were New York Representatives Charles Rangel, Steve Israel, Ed Towns, Anthony Weiner, and Jerrold Nadler. The letters can be viewed in full at: