Nashville, TN -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced the process through which people can appeal the type of disaster housing assistance they have received, or the amount provided. This includes individuals who have insurance, but at a level insufficient to cover all disaster damages.
"People have the right to appeal a FEMA decision on disaster assistance," said Federal Coordinating Officer Nick Russo. "To make an appeal, people need to write to the FEMA Appeals Office and explain in detail why they believe the type or amount of assistance they received is incorrect."
Those who have registered with FEMA for disaster assistance received a letter and booklet explaining how their assistance is to be used and detailing the appeal process. The booklet is entitled "Help After a Disaster - Applicant's Guide to the Individuals & Households Program." Information about the appeals process, including the address to send an appeal letter, is on page 12.
Russo added that when filing an appeal, applicants must include their FEMA application number at the top of the letter. Appeal letters must be postmarked no later than 60 days after the date of the letter sent to applicants describing the appeal process. FEMA generally makes rulings within 30 days of receiving a request, and notifies the applicant of the decision in writing.
The appeal letter needs to include new or additional information to give the appeals officer a better understanding of the situation. Examples of documentation that may help support an appeal include: photos of damage, estimates of time and expense for repairs, receipts for completed repairs, proof of ownership, or proof of occupancy. In cases where the individual had insufficient insurance, a statement of the amount received and damages that were not covered by insurance should be provided.
In any case, the first step of the disaster assistance process is to register by calling the FEMA toll-free registration number, 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362), which is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., local time, seven days a week until further notice. Those with speech or hearing impairments may call 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) to register.
State Coordinating Officer John White advises tornado victims to call and register. "Even if you have insurance that covers some of the damage, please call and register with us," he said. "We may be able to help in ways that insurance can't."
The 20 Tennessee counties that have been declared eligible for assistance to individuals, households and businesses are Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Carroll, Coffee, Crockett, Cumberland, Fentress, Gibson, Henderson, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Morgan, Roane, Rutherford, Scott, Sumner, Tipton, and Van Buren.