OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington residents affected by January's severe storms, flooding and mudslides have the right to appeal the decision from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the event that they were denied assistance or question the amount they were awarded.
There are many reasons a request for individual disaster assistance may be denied, or for the amount of assistance to be lower than expected. One of the most common is insurance-related. FEMA must wait until an insurance settlement is reached because disaster assistance programs cannot duplicate insurance compensation.
Therefore, an applicant who has filed an insurance claim but has not yet settled that claim may receive a letter explaining that immediate FEMA assistance is not available. Once the insurance claim is settled, FEMA should be notified of the amount to determine assistance eligibility.
Other reasons an applicant may receive a denial letter include:
Missing documentation which proves occupancy or ownership of the damaged property;
Damage due to deferred maintenance (pre-existing conditions);
No acceptable evidence of identity, documentation of disaster damage, or proof of ownership of the damaged property;
The application is incomplete (the applicant did not sign, for example).
In an appeal letter, registrants should explain why the decision about the amount or type of assistance they received is not correct. Applicants should be as specific as possible in describing any issues they think were not addressed in the inspection process. Copies of receipts or other documentation to support the appeal letter should be included.
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.
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 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.