Wealthiest Americans Could See Huge Disaster Payouts In Wake Of Hurricane Sandy

Disaster assistance, flood insurance subsidies amongst millions of dollars in funding millionaires have received after past disasters.

Gary Hershorn / Reuters

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The nation’s wealthiest received more than $7.5 million in disaster assistance between 2007 and 2010 even as communities across the country continued to struggle to return to normal after national disasters.

That total that went to those make $1 million or more was a small portion of the more than $834 million that was doled out as disaster housing assistance during that period.

But with tens of thousands of middle and working class citizens with out homes in the wake of Hurricane Sandy it could become a flash point in Congress when lawmakers return to Washington next month.

Sen. Tom Coburn, a hardline conservative, first highlighted the payments to millionaires in his 2011 report, Subsidies of the Rich and Famous.

The report notes that wealthy Americans also could qualify for federal flood insurance assistance, which could significantly increase the costs to taxpayers, a fact Coburn harshly criticized.

“Millionaires can clearly afford insurance coverage for their homes and property and should not need disaster aid,” the report argued.

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John Stanton is the Washington, D.C. bureau chief for BuzzFeed News. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
Contact John Stanton at

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