ORLANDO, Fla. -- If you applied for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following Tropical Storm Fay and later received a letter stating you were not eligible for disaster aid, an appeal letter may reopen your chances for disaster assistance.
There are many reasons a request for individual disaster assistance may be denied, or the amount of an assistance grant is lower than expected. One of the most common is insurance-related. FEMA must withhold aid until an insurance settlement is reached because assistance programs are not intended to duplicate insurance compensation or cover deductibles for disaster-related loss or damage.
Therefore, an applicant who has filed an insurance claim, but has not yet settled that claim, may receive a letter of ineligibility from FEMA. But once the applicant's insurance claim is settled, FEMA should be notified of that amount so a registration can continue to be processed.
Other reasons an applicant may receive a denial letter include:
- An unreturned disaster loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration;
- No record of the damaged property as your primary residence at the time of the disaster;
- Damage was due to deferred maintenance (pre-existing conditions);
- No acceptable evidence of identity, documentation of disaster damage, or proof of ownership of the damaged property;
- A missing signature;
- Or, determination made in error.
In an appeal letter, the registrant should explain why they think the decision about the amount or type of assistance they received is not correct. They should be as specific as possible in describing any issues they think were not addressed in the inspection process.
Appeal letters should include the applicant's FEMA disaster registration number and the federal disaster declaration number. It is important to have the appeal letter postmarked within 60 days of the date on the decision letter.
FEMA will accept late registrations for up to 60 days after Nov. 10, but FEMA can refuse to process a late registration unless the registrant provides suitable documentation to support and justify the reason for the delay in their registration.
Appeal letters should be addressed to:
FEMA - Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055
Letters also can be faxed to 1-800-827-8112 with a cover sheet addressed as follows:
Attention: FEMA - Individuals & Households Program.
For more information about a FEMA appeal, call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.
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.