Give Yourself a Second Chance at Disaster Assistance

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Release date: 
June 9, 2009
Release Number: 
1829-100

Bismarck, ND -- North Dakota flood survivors who have been turned down for state and federal disaster assistance still may have a second chance to get help.

Some North Dakotans may be receiving letters from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) saying they are not eligible for disaster assistance.? Officials strongly encourage residents not to give up if a letter of denial is received. ?

"Anyone who receives a letter from FEMA saying they are not eligible for help should read it carefully to see the reason we have made that determination," said Justo "Tito" Hernandez, FEMA's North Dakota Federal Coordinating Officer.? "An error could have been made at the time of registration or the applicant may need to provide additional information, which might assist FEMA in processing possible additional assistance."

The most common reason for a denial letter is insurance-related.? Federal law prohibits FEMA from awarding disaster assistance for items already covered under a home owner's insurance policy. This is considered "a duplication of benefits."? FEMA must wait until an insurance settlement is reached before determining whether an applicant is eligible.?

Other reasons for denial may include:

  • Lacking proof of occupancy;
  • Property ownership verification;
  • Insufficient damages;
  • Identity verification failed; or?
  • Damaged property is not a primary residence.

To ensure that an appeal is thoroughly considered, heed the following:

  • The reasons for the denial are detailed on the first page of the letter.?
  • Gather all information needed to support the appeal.? This could be an insurance settlement letter, a property deed or mortgage document, a copy of official photo identification, or an estimate from a licensed contractor.
  • Submit a letter, explaining in detail, why the determination is being appealed.? Attach additional documentation that supports your claims.? Appeal letters should include the individual's FEMA disaster registration number and the federal disaster declaration number ? both found at the top of the denial letter.? It is important that this appeal letter and documentation are postmarked within 60 days of the date on the denial letter.

Address appeal letters as follows:

FEMA - Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055
Letters may be faxed to 1-800-827-8112 with a cover sheet addressed as follows:

Attention: FEMA - Individuals & Households Program.

If there are further questions visit a Disaster Recovery Center or call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362); for hearing - or speech-impaired: TTY: 1-800-462-7585.?

Helpline hours of operation are:? 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. CDT, seven days a week.

Applicants will be notified in writing of FEMA's decision.

The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services provides 24/7 emergency communications and resource coordination with more than 50 lead and support agencies, private enterprises, and voluntary organizations to assist local jurisdictions in disaster and emergency response activities. It administers federal disaster recovery programs and the Homeland Security Grant Program

SBA is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response ...

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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