As of March 31, 2014, the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program is no longer accepting appeals from individuals without RREM Application Identification Numbers or from RREM Applicants who have missed their designated time frame to appeal.
Prior to March 31, 2014, applicants had two opportunities to appeal if they disagreed with their ineligibility determination. First, they had 30 days within receipt of their ineligibility letter to submit an appeal in writing. Second, the State provided a second appeal period in February and March of 2014 for those applicants who were deemed ineligible, but did not appeal that determination within 30 days of receipt of their ineligibility determination
It is important to note that the appeal process is still open to RREM applicants who receive a notification from the RREM Program after March 31, 2014, as long as they follow the instructions in the notification and meet the strict appeal deadlines.
The section that follows is only for RREM applicants who received a notification from the RREM Program after March 31, 2014, and who have the Right to Appeal.
RREM applicants can appeal the following:
- Minimum damage threshold determination ($8,000 or 1 foot of water);
- Property was owned by the applicant;
- Property was the applicant’s primary residence on October 29, 2012;
- Property was in one of the nine (9) most impacted counties;
- Applicant’s Household adjusted gross income is less than $250,000; and
- Applicant registered with FEMA.
RREM applicants will need to provide any and all verifiable supporting documentation along with their appeal.
In the case of the minimum damage threshold for the RREM Program, the State received approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to expand third-party damage documentation. The RREM applicant must have sustained an Full Verified Loss (FVL) of $8,000 or greater or more than one foot of flooding on the first floor as determined by FEMA or may submit third party verification including: SBA damage inspection; National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) property damage assessment; verified private insurance property damage estimates, and determinations by the local Flood Plain Manager. Photos and personal contractor estimates themselves are not considered verifiable third party verifications. (For reference, please review Action Plan Amendment Number 3).
Each appeal received in writing will be date stamped and reviewed by the DCA Sandy Recovery Division’s Office of Compliance and Monitoring for compliance with program policies, requirements, and applicable local, state and federal law. The DCA will provide a written determination within 50 days of receipt of the applicant’s request for an appeal. Applicants who are dissatisfied with the DCA’s appeal determination may appeal to the New Jersey Office of the Administrative Law (OAL) within 30 days of receipt of the DCA’s determination. Procedures for an OAL appeal will be provided in the DCA’s written determination.
How to Appeal
RREM applicants can appeal by writing a letter or by filling out the downloadable Appeals Worksheet If an applicant chooses to appeal by writing a letter, the letter must include all of the information requested on the Appeals Worksheet. If an applicant uses the Appeals Worksheet, they must fill in their information and the reason for the appeal request, and print and submit a hard copy of the form along with the supporting documentation to the address on the form. (The appeal may not be submitted by email, fax, or over the phone; it must be submitted in hard copy.) To reiterate: RREM applicants cannot appeal via email or phone.
Send the appeal to:
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
Sandy Recovery Division
P.O. Box 823
Trenton, NJ 08625-0823
Upon receipt of the DCA’s appeal determination, the applicant will have thirty (30) days to request review with the OAL. Failure to do so will result in the applicant forfeiting their right to appeal with the OAL.
Applicants wishing to withdraw from the RREM Program should complete the Voluntary Withdrawal Form A withdrawal request can be faxed to 973-556-1857, dropped off at a Housing Recovery Center or mailed to the address below. Please complete and return this form if it applies to you so that the RREM Program can use the funding that has been allocated to your application and move another RREM applicant off the program’s waitlist.
Send your Voluntary Withdrawal Form to:
reNew Jersey Stronger
PO Box 32128
Newark NJ 07102.
Below are some common questions RREM applicants may have about appeals and withdrawals:
If I sign a RREM grant award can I withdraw from the RREM Program later?
Applications can be withdrawn by an applicant at any time. Applicants have to complete and submit the Voluntary Withdrawal Form. Once the RREM Program has received this form, we will confirm with the applicant that we have successfully withdrawn their application.
Do I owe the RREM Program any money if I withdraw?
As long as no funding has been disbursed to the applicant, the applicant will not owe the program any money. In the event that funding has been disbursed to an applicant, the applicant will be required to return those funds back to the RREM Program if they decide to withdraw from the program.
Do I have to pay back my reimbursement if I withdraw from the program?
Applicants must comply with all RREM Program requirements and commit to completing the remaining construction identified by the RREM Program in order to be awarded reimbursement. Therefore, the RREM Program does not allow applicants to keep their reimbursement funds if they withdraw from the program.
What are the RREM Program deadlines?
If an applicant has failed to (1) provide any required documentation needed to move forward in the RREM Program and (2) has received a written request for this information, the applicant will have fifteen (15) days to provide the required information. Failure to submit the requested documentation will result in the applicant being administratively withdrawn from the RREM Program
Applicants whose applications have been administratively withdrawn will have thirty (30) business days to file a request for reinstatement as described in the RREM Program policies and procedures.