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Cuomo Wants Credit Bureaus To Reconsider Sandy Victims' Scores

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Governor Andrew Cuomo is looking to protect victims of Hurricane Sandy from being hit with bad credit scores, as many people who lost their homes ended up amassing debt and are being held back from getting their finances in order. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Last October, as Hurricane Sandy tore through Staten Island, Allison Puglisi's home was severely damaged.

"I am still living in a hotel. I am trying to fix everything," she said.

Puglisi suffers from an adrenal disorder, and mold that grew inside her home following the storm still prevents her from moving back. As a result, she has been forced to pay out of pocket for expenses, and that debt has hurt her credit score as she tries to refinance.

"I ended up paying for my heat and electricity, a hotel room, cabs, food, medicine replacements, all these things that I know some people got help with, but not everybody got help with it," Puglisi said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is looking to help by compelling the credit scoring and reporting bureaus to reconsider any black marks they may have placed on the credit scores of Sandy victims.

"It would be a terrible injustice if a victim of Hurricane Sandy was then unfairly penalized by a lowered credit score," Cuomo said.

The Cuomo administration sent letters to Experian, Transunion and others, requesting that they protect victims and consider other circumstances. The governor said he believes the companies will agree to work with government to find a solution.

If they do not respond accordingly, State Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky said there are ways to take punitive action, but he declined to offer specifics.

"There's lots of different routes. It could be regulatory, it could be enforcement, it could be legislation. I don't think we are there yet," Lawsky said.

Individual credit scores is just one of several outstanding issues as the city approaches the six-month mark since Sandy. One can expect over the next week to hear from state and local leaders about just how much progress the region has made.

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