Appeal FEMA Decision if You Think They Got it Wrong

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Release date: 
July 21, 2011
Release Number: 
1972/1983-048

CLINTON, Miss. -- Some Mississippi disaster survivors may disagree with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's decision about what disaster assistance they can receive.

Do not get discouraged if you receive a letter from FEMA indicating you are ineligible. Read the letter carefully -- all the way to the end. It will explain why you were ineligible and what you can do to change that. Ask questions and ask for help if needed.

You can call FEMA at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. FEMA specialists will listen to what you say and explain the basis for FEMA's decision. You also can reach FEMA online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or your mobile device at m.fema.gov.

It is your right to tell FEMA if you think they got it wrong. If your issue cannot be resolved by phone or through FEMA's website, then you should make a written appeal to FEMA within 60 days of receiving your determination letter. In your letter:

  • Explain why you think the decision you received is not correct.
  • Include your full name, date and place of birth, current address, and the address of the damaged property.
  • Your letter must either be notarized, include a copy of a state-issued identification card or include the following statement: "I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct."
  • You must sign the letter.

Appeal letters should include your FEMA disaster identification registration number and the federal disaster declaration number. The Mississippi tornado disaster is DR-1972-MS; the flooding disaster is DR-1983-MS.

Be sure to date your appeal letter and mail it to the following address:

FEMA - Appeals Officer
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

You can also fax letters to 800-827-8112 with a cover sheet addressed to: Attention -- FEMA Appeals Officer.

Be as specific as possible in your letter. If you think some of your damages were overlooked, you can request another inspection. Provide supporting documentation that FEMA can verify. Contractor estimates should be on letterhead and clearly outline the work and materials to be provided. Receipts should be itemized and identify the place, date and time of purchase.

Be aware that FEMA grants may not be enough to return your home to its pre-disaster condition. The goal is to make your home safe, secure and functional. By law, FEMA is limited in what it can cover. FEMA cannot pay for second or vacation homes or damage to sheds, porches, basements, garages, or fences.

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.

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