And then one more body blow - an insurance check for nearly 70-grand - caught up in a sea of red tape. It was up to us to throw her a lifeline.
"I was devastated, I cried. Because half my husband's stuff. It's gone. You can't replace this stuff," Nikki Grahn said.
It's a flood of emotions for Nikki - just walking inside the home she and her husband built.
Superstorm Sandy dumped 4 feet of water on it, ruining everything from furniture to mattresses. One keepsake was spared - a priceless wedding photo of her husband, who died more than 7 years ago. It was somehow in pristine shape.
But a mention of her mortgage company, and Nikki goes from sorrow to steaming.
"I'm at the end of my ropes. I'm tired of fighting," she said. "Now I'm angry. I'm really angry."
More than a month ago, she got her flood insurance check worth more than 68-thousand dollars. As is customary, it was made out to both she and her mortgage company, Chase.
In mid-December, Chase endorsed it and sent her back another check.
"Chase put the check in my name and my husband's name, who is deceased. I can't cash this check," she explained.
After her husband's death, she says she gave Chase his death certificate, but she never formally took his name off the mortgage.
"I assumed they did. I dropped the ball," Nikki said.
She eventually got on the ball and says she sent Chase her husband's will and death certificate three times, but still no new check.
Now, Nikki's borrowing and draining her own savings to renovate her home. So we called the bank, and just hours later the money was in her account.
"Thank you so much," she said.
Nikki says she got a great big apology from the bank's regional director, who said he never knew anything the problem. Chase told us Nikki's check wasn't held up. It just took time to clear. Nikki can now pay both herself and her brother back.
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