DHS & Rutgers To Administer $5M Treatment Program For Struggling Sandy Victims

therapy image

So much has been written about Hurricane Sandy over the past 13 months concerning repairing and rebuilding homes and businesses and policyholders battling it out with their insurance companies over insurance proceeds that can now likely be called bad faith insurance practices.

While many of these stories have focused on the tangible issues of homes and money, some of the intangible issues are now coming into focus – and they’re often difficult to address.  The bottom line is that many Hurricane Sandy victims are still suffering psychologically from the storm – even a year later.  The Department of Health & Human Services (DHS) and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care recently announced that they will administer a $5 million treatment program to help those whose homes – and lives – were destroyed in Hurricane Sandy and need more formal psychological counseling.

About The Program & How To Qualify

According to nj.com, the $5 million treatment program, which has already begun, will be administered through 2015.  It is meant to help those who are having trouble sleeping, eating, concentrating or remembering things, are experiencing bursts of anger or outbursts of crying, have persistent headaches, digestive problems and muscle tension.

According to Chris Kosseff, President & Chief Executive Officer at Rutgers Behavioral Health, “Sandy may have triggered anxiety or depressive symptoms for some residents and exacerbated it for others, who may have been struggling emotionally before the storm. With this program, we will direct residents in need to the professionals who can help them.”

To qualify for a referral, individuals must have lived in one of the following nine New Jersey counties at the time of the storm:

  • Atlantic
  • Bergen
  • Cape May
  • Essex
  • Hudson
  • Middlesex
  • Monmouth
  • Ocean
  • Union

Anyone who qualifies and needs help should call 1-866-202-HELP.

The DNS / Rutgers program actually stems from a program started by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hope & Healing program which initially dedicated $15.5 million to match counselors with those who suffered most after Hurricane Sandy hit.  Realizing that there was still a great need for more help, an additional $5 million federal grant was bestowed to allow DHS and Rutgers to link people with counseling professionals and defray the costs of treatment.  The goal of the program is to help Sandy victims better cope when dealing with the extensive flooding damage to their homes, fighting with insurance companies and simply trying to regain some normalcy in their lives.

Help Is Available In Many Ways

It’s disheartening to think that so many Hurricane Sandy victims continue to struggle a year after the storm hit.  Yet, as programs like the above show, there is obviously still a great need for help to those who live in the communities hit hardest by Sandy.

That help is available in many ways – one of which is contacting an experienced insurance dispute lawyer who can get your homeowners insurance claim paid and analyze whether your insurance carrier has acted in bad faith by denying your legitimate claim, needlessly or unreasonably delaying your settlement or offering you a low settlement in the hope that you’ll just accept it and move on.

Insurance companies who fail to treat policyholders fairly and in good faith can be held liable for damages above and beyond insurance proceeds.  Remember, you do not have to settle for less than you deserve.  Most insurance dispute attorneys offer free consultations, so finding out if help is available won’t cost you anything and can ease the burden of dealing with the often bureaucratic and frustrating insurance claims system.