FEMA Decision Letter May Not Be The Last Word

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Release date: 
July 13, 2010
Release Number: 
1918-013

BEAVER, W. Va. -- If you received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) saying that you are ineligible for disaster assistance, don’t give up.

“Many applicants can take steps to become eligible for assistance,” said Don Keldsen, Federal Coordinating Officer with FEMA in West Virginia. “The letter could mean that FEMA has not been given enough information.”

For example, an applicant might need to:

  • Provide information to prove occupancy or ownership of the damaged property
  • Provide proof of identity
  • Provide documentation to prove disaster damage
  • Complete and return the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application, an essential part of the recovery process.

If a letter says an applicant is denied assistance because they are “INS-insured” (a code designating an insurance issue), the applicant should call the FEMA helpline to update insurance information when it is available. That number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY 1-800-462-7585).

Keldsen said that federal disaster assistance is for disaster related losses that are not fully covered by insurance. He advised residents who are turned down by FEMA to read the letter carefully and “help us help you.”

Applicants can update the information in their applications, allowing FEMA to update their status. In addition, applicants have the right to ask for FEMA to reconsider a decision. Guidelines on how to do this can be found in the Applicant’s Handbook sent to everyone who registers with FEMA. Free legal help for responding to a FEMA decision is available through the West Virginia Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.  Call Disaster Legal Services at 877-331-4259 to request help.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts available at www.fema.gov/medialibrary and www.youtube.com/fema; follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/femaregion3 and www.twitter.gov/readydotgov, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fema .

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