The Federal Emergency Management Agency is asking a group of elderly New Yorkers whose lives were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy to return thousands of dollars in aid it gave them after the storm, the Associated Press reports. Evidently, the victims spent the cash in a manner inconsistent with FEMA's guidelines.

From the AP:

The problem, the letters said, was that the money, the letters said, was supposed to have been spent on temporary housing, but there was no need for it because the residents were put in state-funded emergency shelters.

FEMA gave resident Robert Rosenberg, 61, until Nov. 15 to send a refund check for $2,486 or file an appeal.

"We're on a fixed income. I don't have that kind of money!" said Rosenberg, who suffers from a spinal disability and other chronic health woes.

He said FEMA workers who urged him to apply for aid never told him the funds could be used only for housing.

"Everyone asked, 'Do we have to pay this back later on? Is it a loan?' They said, 'No. It's a gift from Obama,' " he said.

Several other residents of Belle Harbor Manor, an assisted living community in Rockaway Park—among the areas hardest-hit by the storm—received similar letters retroactively declaring them ineligible for the aid they'd received as part of a larger push to "recover millions of dollars in aid payments that went to ineligible households," the AP reports.

[Image via AP]