LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Some applicants who registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for assistance with losses from the February tornadoes and storms have received letters denying their applications because they have insurance or have not returned their SBA loan applications. There is a step people can take which can overcome the denial, according to officials from FEMA and the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM).
"The process of obtaining aid from FEMA doesn't necessarily end with a denial letter," said Michael Bolch, federal coordinating officer. "Sometimes a denial simply means that more information is needed before the analysis can be completed."
By law, FEMA cannot duplicate what insurance already covers, or pay any deductibles. However, people with insurance may be eligible for help with losses not covered by their insurance. To appeal a denial because you have insurance, first, contact your insurance company and request a settlement letter. If your insurance does not cover all of your disaster losses, send an appeal letter to FEMA explaining your situation and provide a copy of the settlement letter, so that FEMA can reconsider your eligibility for aid.
Applicants must complete and submit an SBA loan application, even if they do not want to take out a loan, to qualify for some types of FEMA assistance, "If FEMA has sent you an SBA loan application, it is critical to follow the instructions and return it no later than April 21," Bolch said. "Sending in the SBA application and an appeal letter to FEMA can reopen your case for additional consideration."
More information about how to appeal is in the Applicant's Guide that FEMA mails to each applicant and online at www.fema.gov. Applicants may talk with experts daily from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. local time on FEMA's toll free Helpline, 800-621-FEMA (3362), or for the hearing- and speech-impaired, TTY 800-462-7585. Applicants can check the status of their appeals by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362).
"FEMA is here to provide Kentuckians with all the help they are entitled to receive," said State Coordinating Officer Charlie Winter. "Please take advantage of your opportunity to appeal if your application for aid is originally denied."
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.