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Ineligibility Letter May Not Be the Last Word on Disaster Assistance

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Release date: 
August 1, 2011
Release Number: 

WESTFIELD, Mass. -- People who receive a notice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency stating they are ineligible for disaster assistance may be able to use additional records to turn that "no" into a "yes."

"Every applicant has the right to appeal a FEMA decision," said Federal Coordinating Officer Nick Russo. "When you do so, you are asking us to review your case again, and we will gladly do that."

State and federal disaster assistance is available in Hampden and Worcester counties for survivors of the severe storms and tornadoes that struck Massachusetts June 1.

"Applicants who receive a letter from FEMA saying they are ineligible for assistance should read that document thoroughly and carefully," said Kurt Schwartz, state coordinating officer and director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. "It will list some reasons the aid was denied and provide instructions on filing an appeal."

Some common reasons an applicant may be determined ineligible include:

  • More information is needed on insurance coverage. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance benefits. If the applicant can show the need for help with losses not covered by insurance, an appeal may be successful.
  • The applicant did not sign required documents.
  • Additional personal information is needed to complete the assistance evaluation process.
  • Proof is needed to verify the identity of the applicant or that the damaged property was the applicant's primary residence at the time of the disaster.
  • Confusion about Social Security numbers, addresses or phone numbers. If FEMA can't contact you, your application may be denied.

An appeal letter must be submitted within 60 days of the date on the ineligibility letter.

You can mail it to:

FEMA Appeals Officer
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055

Or fax it to: 800-827-8112

Keep a copy of the appeal letter and supporting documentation as a record.

For more information on the appeals process, call FEMA's Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 for the hearing- and speech-impaired.

You may also visit the Springfield Disaster Recovery Center at:
Massachusetts Technology Park
One Federal Street, Building #104
Springfield, Massachusetts 01105
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The center is closed Saturdays and Sundays.

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
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