For hundreds of residents who had their homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, they are a step closer to not having to repay excess federal aid the government has been trying to get back.

The $28 million dollars in payments was not obtained by any fraud or through any fault of the homeowners. It amounted to a glitch in the system. Most, if not all, of that money has already been spent repairing or elevating homes.

Under legislation passed by the U.S. House on Wednesday, 800 New Jersey homeowners would have the debt wiped out. Another 1,000 homeowners would technically still be on the hook for repayment but would have those payments suspended indefinitely.

The U.S. Senate and President Joe Biden would still have to agree for this to become law.

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Congress did suspend the clawback payments until 2025 in March, to give lawmakers time to permanently resolve the issue.

Gov. Phil Murphy's administration announced a freeze on state clawback attempts in 2018.

Residents were not even aware they had received too much money until the government asked for it back.

Joe Mangino told told state lawmakers during a hearing in May that he believes he followed all the rules while applying for and accepting grants related to rebuilding his home.

Despite getting back into his home nearly 7 years ago, the Stafford resident says he can't move on.

"While I am home, I am not whole," Mangino told New Jersey legislators. "I feel like we're being held hostage."

On the federal level, this has become a partisan issue.

New Jersey's 10 Democrats voted with the House majority to pass the bill. Chris Smith, R-4th, and Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd, voted with House Republicans in opposition to the measure.

Previous reporting by Dino Flammia was used for this story.

Beautiful sunflower fields to visit in NJ 2022

Among reasons why the “Garden State” remains a fitting nickname for New Jersey — late summer means the arrival of sunflower season.

There are at least six fields, spanning the state. Some are in bloom as of early August, while others are planned to peak from late August to late September.

Calling or emailing before heading out is always advisable if weather appears to be an issue. 

15 sensational places to visit in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park

From amusement rides to all the boardwalk food and lots of water fun, Seaside Heights and neighboring Seaside Park have endured as a family friendly spot for all ages.

Along the way, the Seaside Heights Boardwalk and Casino Pier have been struck with tragic disasters - such as fire, Superstorm Sandy and another fire. Both have proven their resiliency through rebuilding and expansion.