Since March, when FEMA announced it would reopen claims for Sandy victims who believed they were short-changed by flood insurance carriers, there has been a concerted effort to get people on board.

Meetings have been held in town halls, churches, backyards and banquet rooms. Information sessions have been hosted by politicians, law firms, nonprofits and private citizens...

...FEMA said "1 to 2 percent" of the people thought to be underpaid might actually owe FEMA money if it was found they were overpaid.

"That scared a lot of people off," Kasimos said. "They figured, 'I've been screwed so many times already, I'll probably get screwed again.' " 

Despite the warranted distrust, the message being delivered by everyone from Menendez to charity groups is that the government is ready to make things right.

"I would encourage any Sandy victim who feels they were lowballed to contact FEMA and opt-in on this rare second chance to get what they deserve," Menendez said by email.

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