Frequently Asked Questions

Reimbursement FAQ

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What is Build It Back’s Reimbursement Program?

The Program offers reimbursement to eligible applicants who incurred expenses to repair or reconstruct their homes. Reimbursement awards are made regardless of the income of the applicant.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sets the rules for reimbursement, which must be followed by the Build It Back Program.

What kind of expenses are reimbursable?

The Program may only reimburse applicants for permanent construction work that an applicant completed. If an applicant received funds from another source (for example from FEMA, SBA, insurance, etc.) for home repairs, the Program cannot reimburse applicants for those same repairs – in other words, the Program must not create a “duplication of benefits.”

How is the reimbursable amount calculated for repaired homes?

Determining the reimbursement amount for a repaired home is a four-step process.

How is the reimbursable amount calculated for repaired homes?
Determining the reimbursement amount for a repaired home is a four-step process.

Step 1:  The Program must first identify all benefits that an applicant may have received which were intended for the repair of the home. 

Step 2:  Any construction-related expenses the applicant identifies using the Program’s Declaration of Sandy Expenses Form (F13) are then subtracted from this amount.  Construction-related expenses may include equipment rental, mold remediation, debris removal, pest control, etc.  These are expenses that cannot be valued during a damage assessment because they are not visible, permanent repairs to the home.

Step 3:  The Program then performs a damage assessment on the applicant’s home to identify completed permanent repairs.  Applicants must disclose whether they paid for the repairs and whether the repairs were done by the applicants themselves or by a contractor.  The Program does not use receipts to calculate permanent repairs that are reimbursable.  Instead, the permanent repairs are valued using standardized prices that are used by all the Build It Back damage assessors.

Step 4:  The Program then looks at the difference between the net benefits received (per Steps 1 & 2) and the amount identified by the damage assessment (per Step 3).  If the repair costs were greater than the benefits received, the applicant may be eligible for reimbursement.  The Program reimburses 60% of that amount.

Example Reimbursement Application

Step 1: Identify Benefits Received
   $65,000    Homeowners Insurance Received
+ $15,000    FEMA Benefit Received
   $80,000    Total Benefits Received

Step 2: Reimbursement Coordination of Benefits Calculation
    $80,000    Benefits Received
-    $5,000    Construction Related Expenses (as verified on the F13 Form)
    $75,000    Duplicative Benefits

Step 3:  Damage Assessment
   $30,000    Repairs Completed by Applicant
+ $60,000    Repairs Completed by Applicant’s Contractor
   $90,000    Reimbursable Permanent Repairs

Step 4:     Reimbursable Grant Calculation
    $90,000    Permanent Repairs as determined by Damage Assessment
-   $75,000    Duplicative Benefits
    $15,000    Difference
X  .6 (60%)
       $9,000   Actual Reimbursement Grant Amount


Why won’t the Program reimburse me based upon what I actually spent?

Applicants may only be reimbursed for expenses that were incurred to make permanent repairs to their home prior to the date the applicant signed the Program’s Intake Form (F1) or October 29, 2013, whichever is earlier. Applicants may not be reimbursed for other expenses, like temporary repairs or temporary housing. The Program’s damage assessment assigns a value to the permanent repairs an applicant made to their home at a standardized price. This value may not be as high as what the applicant paid for the repairs. This value will also not include any repairs which were made after the damage assessment was completed.

When can I expect to receive my reimbursement check?

The majority of applicants receive their check within 30 days of signing their grant agreement for reimbursement.

Is there a cap on reimbursements for repairs?

No, but the average reimbursement amount is approximately $17,000.

Can I receive repair and reimbursement assistance?

The Program will provide repair and reimbursement assistance to applicants who are eligible for both Program options. Please note that the Program cannot provide reimbursement assistance to a property if the Sandy damage is more than 50% of its pre-storm market value, unless the property has already been elevated in accordance with federal elevation requirements.

Will the Program reimburse me for my completely rebuilt home?

Applicants are eligible to be reimbursed for expenses incurred to fully rebuild Sandy damaged or destroyed properties if the expense was incurred prior to the date the applicant signed the Program’s Intake Form (F1) or October 29, 2013, whichever is earlier. The Program requires applicants to complete construction and provide a final Certificate of Occupancy to the Program showing that the NYC Department of Buildings has determined that construction is complete and that the structure was elevated pursuant to City requirements.

How does the Program calculate reimbursement for a rebuilt home?

The Program will reimburse the lesser of:

  • the actual cost to reconstruct as demonstrated by documentation provided by the applicant, or
  • the cost the Program would have incurred had it rebuilt the applicant’s property to the lesser of the home’s pre-storm square footage or the square footage which was actually rebuilt. 

The reimbursement amount is determined after the amount of disaster recovery funding intended for home reconstruction and not used for other eligible purposes is deducted from the amount spent on reconstruction reimbursable expenses. The Program will reimburse 60% of the final amount.

Why did the Program tell me that I couldn’t be reimbursed until the Lead Based Paint hazard in my home is corrected?

Federal rules require that the Program identify and correct lead based paint hazards in all pre-1978 homes before issuing reimbursement. If a hazard is found, the hazard must be properly mitigated or abated before reimbursement may be issued to the applicant.

Who is not eligible for Reimbursement?


  • Applicants who are receiving elevation assistance from the Program because they were substantially damaged are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Applicants whose properties are being rebuilt by Build It Back are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Applicants who are receiving Breezy Point Relocation Assistance are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Applicants who are receiving Buyout or Acquisition for Redevelopment Assistance from New York State are not eligible for reimbursement.