MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it mistakenly gave disaster relief checks to over 400 Wisconsinites since 2005.
Now, the agency wants the money back.
FEMA has written storm victims demanding that they repay $1.1 million – even if the agency made the mistake of giving the money to them. It’s part of a larger effort to collect $22 million which FEMA gave either by mistake, or to those not eligible for relief in 129 disasters in the last six years.
As you might guess, it’s not sitting well with some who’ve been told to pay up.
Stewart Wells of Wauwatosa said he got $2,700 from FEMA last year to help pay for $60,000 in flood damage to his basement.
In his application, he told the agency he received $9,800 from his insurance carrier. FEMA said later that his insurance payment disqualified him from getting disaster relief – and he should pay back what the agency gave him.
Wells says he won’t do it, and he’ll let FEMA carry out its threats to garnish his wages and seize his income tax refunds. Wells said he would advise storm victims not to call FEMA for help because, “You don’t know what kind of a can of worms you’re opening up.”