By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN
Follow on Twitter: @SkastenbaumCNN
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(CNN) – Five months after super-storm Sandy flooded tens of thousands of homes in New York and New Jersey many people are still fighting to get the cash already awarded to them by insurance companies.
Some banks and mortgage companies are being criticized for holding on to the money.
[1:45] “They are holding us hostage and I am very angry,” said Eileen McCormack, a homeowner in Freeport, NY who had over three feet of water in the first floor of her home.
Her insurance claim was settled for over $50,000 but her mortgage company won’t release the funds. An agent told her it’s because she’s behind in her payments.
[2:23] “For some reason she thinks if they send me a check I’m going to take off. Well first of all that would be theft. I’ve never committed a crime in my life. And secondly, where am I going to go? This is my home.”
Nassau County legislator David Denenberg says her story is not unique.
[2:52] “The mortgage company is holding on to the check and will not release the check. You can’t get the work started or you started the work by emptying out your bank account and you just don’t have any more money. So the work is now stopped in the middle. And the bank is just sitting on the check.”