Persistence Pays Off

Persistence Pays Off

Hurricane Sandy left thousands of people displaced and or homeless. My mother, a senior citizen was evacuated from her home. She had no choice. This was a town- wide, mandatory evacuation. Luckily she was able to secure a motel in a safe location for the evacuation period.

Upon returning home, she was assured by the FEMA officials she would qualify for monetary reimbursement if she filled out the necessary paperwork. She did so and attached all the required documents. To our surprise she was denied.

Like many people in her position, she took the initial rejection letter as "Proof Positive, you just can’t trust what they tell you".

I suggested she call and inquire exactly why the claim was denied . She tried but could not get through to a live person.

At this point, she was ready to give up. Living through this tragedy was exhausting. However, with some encouragement , we tried again. This time, she got through to a live person who explained she needed her doctor to change "ONE WORD" on his letter to FEMA for her to qualify for the reimbursement she was entitled to.

One word , was the key to hundreds of dollars. Hundreds of dollars incurred by a catastrophe not in her control. One word meant a woman living on social security with a variety of health challenges could now pay her bills for the month.

I wonder how many people in her position have given up because " You just can’t trust the system", or " you are just too tired to try to call one more time and hope this time to get a live person". I wonder how many people give up because the paperwork is daunting.

Here are a few simple suggestions:

1. Don’t give up until you understand why you are denied your claim. Ask questions, ask questions in different ways if you still don’t understand.

2. Get help from a friend or relative if the paperwork is complex or overwhelming.

3. Keep calling at different hours of the day until you get through to a live person.

4. Keep a written record of all phone conversations, dates and ask for the name of the person you are speaking with.

5. Be prepared with all documentation and a pen at the time of your call.

6. Be Persistent, it can be exhausting but it can also be worth it !!

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