Take my money, please

By Mir
August 9, 2006

As much fun as it was when the basement flooded, everything that went along with it, and the recovery afterwards, I think it’s fair to say that I’m pretty much ready to be all done with that chapter of my life, now. Really. I’d like to move on. But the government just won’t let me.

Why? After convincing me that FEMA had experienced a dramatic turnaround— resulting, at the very least, in a record-speed disaster relief grant for me—all their hard work was undone, yesterday.

I spent an hour on the phone with FEMA employees, explaining and re-explaining that yes, you sent me some money, and now my insurance company has pulled their heads out of their butts and THEY gave me some money, and now I would like to GIVE YOU YOUR MONEY BACK. They have NO idea how to handle this. None. I could hear them scratching their heads. The phone was passed around, and the scenario spun out anew. Apparently I am the first person in the history of the universe to try to give the government their money back.

The final consensus was that I need to write a letter explaining what I’m doing.

Dear FEMA,

Thank you very much for the lovely disaster relief grant. I enjoyed it very much, as did the dumpster rental people and the guys who came to spray the biocide. However, now that I have received a settlement from my insurance company, both Emily Post and federal law suggest that I return these funds to you to avoid upsetting anyone.

I would especially appreciate it if you could mention this to your friends over at the IRS, as I have a funny feeling they might bring it up next April. Call it a premonition.

Anyway, it means a lot to me that you stepped up when you did, and I hope that you can find it in your heart to actually make a note of this in my claim file rather than misappropriating my check and later accusing me of making a fraudulent claim. I may, after all, require your help in the future, as there are still quite a few natural disasters I haven’t yet experienced. So I hope there aren’t any hard feelings.


I wonder if they’ll write back?


  1. Briana

    Let us all know if they DO write you back…

  2. Kathryn, DYM

    I’ve heard people are having a hard time giving trailers back in New Orleans as well. The temporary housing units are sitting on people’s property indefinitely and they can’t get FEMA to come pick them up and move them along to the next person in need.

    The FEMA people just love to give, give give, Heaven bless em. They’re just a bit muddled in the giving-what-to-whom-and-when department. However, they did send me a lovely pamphlet on emergency preparedness and they will NEVER see that little gem again unless they come to my house after the apocalypse and pry it from my rigid deceased phalanges.

  3. InterstellarLass

    Yeah, when they lose your check and your lovely letter. They’ll write.

  4. Lady M

    At least you have web witnesses that you’re trying to return the money!

  5. The Zero Boss

    I’m sure that when you told the government you wanted to give them money BACK, someone’s head exploded.

  6. David

    Did you actually send that?! Goodness knows who’ll actually wind up with it. Not sure they even have a place to file such things. One has to wonder if it’ll get passed around in confusion like the phone call.

    Re: earlier posts. Criminently, woman! I leave town for a few days and return to find you’ve nearly offed yourself while doing a good deed. No more of that now, y’hear? I’m awfully glad you’re doing better.

  7. Bob

    watch out, you’ll go on the subversives list. after all, who else but a kook out to bring down the government would do something as un-american as refusing FREE money and be causing massive confusion at FEMA. The FBI will be tapping your phone (watch out, Otto) and strange cars will cruise by your house at odd hours. just remember, only give ’em your name, rank, & serial number.

  8. chris

    Wow. You are so honest.

    I’d be like…ooooo, new shoes! Okay, I am joking.

    (No I’m not)

  9. Lesley

    Did you really send that? Cuz that’s totally going to make some FEMA employee’s day!

  10. Ben

    You’re assuming they actually read their mail. I’m guessing it just gets filed in a giant warehouse someplace, only available to be read via court order.

  11. Randi

    And yet the moan and complain about the millions of dollars they’ve given out, yet when someone wants to give it BACK they won’t let them?

    Gotta love our government.

  12. Red

    I work for the federal government. I gots tons of stories, but it’s going to be a while before they figure out what to do if EVER. lol Good luck with that!

  13. Carolie

    THANK YOU for giving me back some faith in humanity. Integrity–what a concept!

    Mir, you’re BEAUTIFUL!

  14. Aimee

    Oh, lord. I hope you really sent that! That just made my day.

  15. Christina

    You will definately hear from FEMA, just not in the way you are hoping :) Good luck with that!

  16. Amy-Go

    I think I’d just hang on to he money until they get around to asking for it. At least that way you know it won’t be lost in the mail…;)

  17. MamaT

    You have just caused massive confusion at FEMA. I expect a news story on CNN in the near future with the following title, “Honest woman causes breakdown at FEMA not seen since Katrina.”

  18. Carol

    My hell, make sure you get a certified copy of the cleared check from your bank and put that sucker in a fire-proof/water-proof safe. You’re gonna need it someday. You should cc the IRS on that letter as well, lol.

  19. MandaCakes

    What’s the odds on them trying to return to money to some lady named “Emily Post”?

  20. Teresa in Chicago

    Yeah, what Carol said! Make a copy of that cleared check and make sure it’s safe. And not a bad idea to send the letter to the IRS either. This is too funny – it really isn’t, but the idea of someone trying to give money BACK to the government? I love it. You may singlehandedly take down FEMA!

  21. Jenn2

    I’m with Bob. Your phone is SO gonna be tapped. Amy’s gonna have to bake a file into the next pie…

  22. libby

    Miree? You’re doing a heckuva job.

  23. Cele

    Gosh, I hope you didn’t cc your insurance company because they will expect a refund too. The letter made my day, but I am kinda with MandaCakes, they’ll send the money to Emily Post.

  24. Zuska

    You’re probably too young to remember this, but there was an episode of The Odd Couple in which Felix was called to the IRS and he of course got all crazy over it, but in the end it turned out that he had forgotten to sign his return. But the people at the IRS took the opportunity to call him in to their office because everyone wanted to meet him, because his returns were always so perfectly neat and organized. At least, that’s how I remember the episode.

    And I’m envisioning a whole group of people at FEMA who are trying to arrange a meeting with you, so they can snap your picture and hang it up next to a copy of your letter, the likes of which they don’t often see!! You’re a pip!!

  25. Latte Man

    For those that say your phone is “going” to be tapped, uh… it probably already was, so what is new?

    and Mir, I want you to realize exactly the magnitude of what you have done. This is going to require all sorts of flowcharts and Powerpoint presentations to be circulated around Washington as they try to decide how to handle this. Then of course they will hire a Million dollar a year Director to oversee the new department that will have to be created. They will of course have to buy equipment, rent office space, staff it (with lord knows how many levels of management to ensure the “integrity” of the money return department).

    So by you returning your check, figure you have now created an entirely new Department within Homeland Secuirty which will cost taxpayers MILLIONS of dollars a year, just so you can return the money to FEMA.

    I hope your happy. :)

  26. Shelley

    Aw honey, don’t you realize that the only way to get the gov’t to do something so out of character is to call CNN first? You send an email to that nice young Anderson fella or those O’Briens they got there – he’ll get someone to take your check.

  27. Ei

    Mir, I love you. I just had to say that.

  28. Christina

    Wow, the government has to make everything difficult, don’t they? You’d think the IRS would want to give FEMA some lessons in taking money from people.

  29. Gillian

    In order to return emergency funds already dispersed you must download form UBET 134298 from our website http://www.outtolunch.orb to sign on to our website you must use your WQURY ID number. If you do not remember your WQURY ID number you may access that information at our website http://www.outtolunch.orb.

  30. Stephanie

    You are so awesome for doing the right thing… even when that is foreign to the government. I hope you really sent that letter. It made my day!

  31. Tug

    They’ve all SAID it all. You are awesome, totally restore some part of the whole “there are good people” thing…. AND.MOST.IMPORTANT. OK, besides what I already said. MAKE.COPIES. SEND TO THE I.R.S. Now, AND with your tax return. With copies of the cancelled check. Seriously.

  32. Desi

    Same thing happened to me at Walmart (on a different $ scale, I’m sure)
    The cashier gave me 20.00 too much back. I got to the car before I realized it, turned around went to customer service, and after calling 3 managers to the front, they concluded they had no way of putting it back into their “system”. and honest to God, they said, “just keep it”! I wasn’t going to argue,’cause who knows how much money they’ve ripped me out of. So I did just that, I kept it!

  33. JGS

    You are just too funny!

    And thank goodness for that!

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