Salvation Army Limits Sandy Relief To 20% of What Was Raised. Many Ask, Why?

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The Salvation Army is known as an emergency response organization.  However, many Hurricane Sandy victims who are still in dire need of help are questioning the organization’s decision to limit relief to 20% of the funds it has raised for Hurricane Sandy victims a year after the storm hit.  They simply want to know – why?

$24 Million That Could Be Used To Help Those in Need

That’s what many Hurricane Sandy victims say about the Salvation Army’s decision not to distribute the $24 million it’s stashing away.  According to the Asbury Park Press, the Salvation Army raised $30.7 million for Superstorm Sandy victims.  However, it has only spent about 20% of that, or $6 million, to date.  The charity has said the remaining $24 million is being “held in reserve to address long term recovery needs over the next few years” in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – the three states hit hardest by the storm.  While that may be admirable, some groups have criticized the Salvation Army for not recognizing that so many victims need that money now.

After Hurricane Sandy devastated these areas last year, many home and business owners made insurance claims – fully expecting to be compensated on the terms of their insurance contracts.  However, many insurers have since engaged in bad faith insurance practices and have either denied claims altogether, delayed them for more than a year or have offered low ball settlements to policyholders who they knew were in such financial straits that they would accept anything offered.

In addition, many property owners either didn’t have flood insurance or found out that FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) wouldn’t pay them what it would cost to repair the damage done by Sandy.  In effect, property owners suffered a “double whammy” when it came to insurance proceeds.

That the Salvation Army raised funds that could help people in these situations but won’t release the money is troubling to many.  According to Ben Smilowitz, the founder of the Disaster Accountability Project, a charity watchdog organization, the Salvation Army’s approach doesn’t seem rational:

They’re known as an emergency response organization, that’s how they’re known…People across New Jersey and New York are still struggling. [The Salvation Army] could have emptied that fund last winter when people were freezing in their broken homes.

The Salvation Army has said that it has years of experience in dealing with disasters, insists that its approach is prudent and that it is not obligated to release funds until it decides that it is necessary.

New York Attorney General Critical Of Hurricane Sandy Charity Disbursements

The Salvation Army isn’t the only charity coming under fire by consumer groups, donors and politicians for not doing more.  New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has been critical of other organizations that have not dispersed more of the money specifically raised to help Sandy victims.  In July, his office stated that only 40% of the $575 million raised by charities had reached those most in need.

Whether you agree or disagree with how the Salvation Army or other charities have responded to the Hurricane Sandy crisis, the bottom line is that they are not required to disperse funds they collect.  Insurance companies, on the other hand, are required to do so.  However, home and business owners continue to tell stories about how their insurance companies are still giving them the run-around – even a full year after Sandy hit.

If your insurance company falls into that category, they are likely engaging in bad faith insurance practices.  Rest assured that you can fight back with the help of an experienced insurance dispute lawyer who can analyze your situation, get your claim paid and determine whether you might be entitled to additional compensation for not being treated right.