PASADENA, Calif. -- Californians who have applied for federal-state assistance to recover from the November wildfires have three days to keep in mind, depending on their claim situations.
"There are 60 days from the date of the disaster declaration when applicants can register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for assistance," said Mark Neveau, federal coordinating officer. "The registration deadline for this wildfire recovery is January 20, 2009."
Applicants can register for aid by calling FEMA's toll-free number 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or online at www.fema.gov.
If an applicant receives a denial letter, and he or she believes the FEMA assessment is incomplete or inaccurate, he or she has 60 days from the date the denial letter was received to send an appeal. Guidelines for appeals are found in the Applicant's Handbook that was sent to everyone who registered for federal-state aid.
Appeal letters should be addressed to: FEMA - Individuals & Households Program, National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055. Letter can be faxed to 1-800-827-8112 with a cover sheet addressed to "Attention-FEMA Individuals & Households Program."
"In an appeal letter, the applicant should explain why he or she believes the FEMA decision about the amount or type of assistance refused or received was incorrect," said Tom Maruyama, deputy state coordinating officer. "He or she should be as specific as possible in describing any issues that he or she believes were inaccurately assessed in the inspection process."
Applicants have 12 months from the date they registered with FEMA to submit proof that their loss was greater than their insurance coverage.
FEMA does not reimburse disaster-related damages that are covered by insurance, including deductible amounts. The agency will consider losses that were under-insured or uninsured. To determine the items that were under-insured or uninsured, the applicant needs an insurance settlement letter from the insurance company. Applicants are encouraged to contact their insurance company at the same time they call FEMA's toll-free registration number.
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.