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FEMA Wants Money Back from 73-Year-Old Couple

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- One senator took action against the U.S. Treasury Department Wednesday, telling it to call off the debt collection branch trying to collect $37,000 from an elderly couple.

The Treasury Department seeks money from the Arkansas couple because of what looks like a FEMA mixup. The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the couple $27,000 for damages sustained during a flood in 2008, but three years later, FEMA said it had made a mistake. The letter FEMA sent to the couple said the two were ineligible for the funds they received because their home was located in a Special Flood Hazard Area and their community chose not to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

This March, FEMA demanded the couple pay back every single penny the government had given them within 30 days.

The elderly couple couldn’t do that. So FEMA turned the matter over to the Treasury Department for debt collection, upping the amount due to $37,000 to include late fees and interest.

Seventy-three-year-old Carolyn Guglielmannas sent a handwritten letter to Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., recounting her story and asking for help.

Wednesday morning Pryor took to the Senate floor and put a hold on all Treasury Department nominees until the group agreed to leave the couple alone.

In Arkansas news reports Pryor said this hold would force the Treasury Department to work with him to resolve the case.

The U.S. Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a call or emails.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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