NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Officials with the Tennessee Department of Human Services said their Nashville office was overrun by people trying to get disaster assistance.
Hundreds of people lined up for hours downtown to get state assistance for flood relief. Tempers started to flare as witnesses said people were breaking in line.
Police had to be called to the scene to keep the peace. Three people were arrested for trying to push their way to the front of the line.
"We're trying to get through it as quickly as possible. We are calling in staff from other counties to come and help the Davidson County office from counties that didn't have the damage or that aren't seeing the volume," said Michelle Mowery-Johnson with DHS.
Officials said the situation was being made worse because some people were trying to cheat the system and lying to try and get benefits.
"We've got a lot of folks here who are interested in applying for assistance and we want to help them as quickly as possible," said Mowery-Johnson.
Auditors are checking each application. Emergency benefits are only available to low income residents who've had flooding in their home. They can get between $250 to $500 dollars, but only if FEMA has declared their home damaged. DHS: Flood Recovery Information