• Credit: Long Island Newsday/Johnny Milano

Freeport, Long Island, residents Janet and Lawrence Rubinstein found out how precise New York can be when they received a notice of their aid award from the New York Rising Housing Recovery Program, three months after filing an application for assistance. The amount the Rubinsteins were eligible to receive from the program for help with their flood damage from 2012's Hurricane Sandy, the letter said, was exactly six dollars. Three dollars could be paid in advance, and three dollars after completion of the work.

Newsday has the story here: ("Freeport residents baffled by $6 NY Rising payment," by Bart Jones). "[The letter from NY Rising] also stated that if the couple were unable to pick up the check at NY Rising's Freeport office, a worker could be dispatched to deliver it," the paper reports. Said Janet Rubinstein, "Don't you find this bizarre?"

New York Rising spokeswoman Barbara Brancaccio defended the program, saying the Rubinsteins were "deceiving the public" and that the couple "received a letter for the amount that was entirely appropriate." Brancaccio says the six dollars represents the difference between the estimated cost to fix the couple's damaged home ($64,000) and the amount they have already received from other sources, including a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan.

The Rubinsteins say they reported the other funding on their NY Rising application, CBS News reports (see: "L.I. Couple, New York Rising At Odds Over $6 Sandy Repair Payment"). And the whole thing strikes them as peculiar: "What makes them think six dollars is going to help anyone?" asked 79-year-old Janet Rubinstein. "If they're going to distribute it at six dollars a pop, they're going to be distributing it long after we're gone."