ATLANTA, Ga. -- There may be more to a letter stating an applicant?s ineligibility for disaster assistance than first meets the eye. Frequently, the letter is sent because additional information or corrected information is needed. Sometimes, the applicant may actually be ineligible. In most instances, the door remains open to continue to seek assistance.
An ineligibility letter is generated when applicants state they have insurance upon registering. After receiving the letter, which is not a denial letter, applicants have up to 12 months from the date of the letter to submit what the insurance company states it will pay ? or not pay.
?Nearly 60 percent of ineligibility letters to Georgians are sent in response to statements about having insurance,? said GEMA Deputy State Coordinating Officer, Joe McKinney.
Other reasons ineligibility letters are sent are because information is incorrect or incomplete, such as the Social Security number or address. Sometimes ownership or occupancy could not be verified. Still other letters will state the reason as insufficient damage. Ineligibility letters may also be sent if:
- Renter is told to remain in a unit while repairs are completed but told after inspection to move before repairs;
- FEMA inspectors claim insufficient damage.
?In each of these cases, applicants have 60 days from the date of the FEMA ineligibility letter to
appeal a decision,? said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer, Jeff Bryant. ?Applicants should keep in mind, however, that assistance does not make people whole again. This is emergency help, a leg up, so to speak.?
Those who are ineligible for FEMA assistance may be eligible for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loan for homeowners, renters, businesses of any size and private nonprofit organizations. Others may seek the assistance of voluntary agencies.
Applicants should refer to the applicant handbook, mailed to them upon registering, for more in-depth information about eligibility and the appeal process. Or they may call the Helpline at
800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY), now open 24 hours daily for assistance.
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.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
SBA?s disaster loans are the primary form of federal assistance for non-farm, private sector disaster losses. Disaster loans from SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and nonprofit organizations fund repair and replacement of disaster damaged real and personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 800-659-2955 or online at www.sba.gov.