Statement from Gov. Edwards on Duplication of Benefits

September 22, 2018

BATON ROUGE – Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement on the news that the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have reached an agreement to fix the federal Duplication of Benefits (DOB) penalty that has kept homeowners impacted by the 2016 floods from receiving full assistance from the Restore Louisiana homeowner program:

“This morning, I received word from Congressman Garret Graves that he and Congressman Cedric Richmond have reached an agreement with the U.S. Senate to fix the Duplication of Benefits penalty. For two years, this onerous federal regulation has limited the assistance we have been able to provide to homeowners who were impacted by the 2016 floods. Immediately following the floods, my administration began sounding the alarm on this issue. While the deal is not yet final, I am very grateful for the leadership Congressmen Graves and Richmond have shown in fighting for this fix. As soon as congress finalizes, the President signs, and HUD issues guidance, we will immediately provide the assistance to homeowners who were previously impacted by this impediment deserve.”

Background:

Currently, flood survivors who applied for Small Business Administration loans immediately following the floods are not able to make full use of grant funding available through the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, insists that survivors apply for a SBA loan without fully disclosing that they could be penalized down the road. For example, a homeowner who was approved for a $90,000 SBA disaster loan, but perhaps only borrowed $30,000 immediately following the disaster, would be penalized in the grant program for the full approved amount of the loan. The federal government labels this scenario as a Duplication of Benefits (DOB). This is also the case if a homeowner borrowed $0. That homeowner is still penalized for the full $90,000.

Last modified: September 22, 2018