BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Vermonters who received a notice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency stating they are ineligible for disaster assistance do not have to take "no" as a final answer.
"All applicants have the right to appeal a FEMA decision," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Craig Gilbert. "By doing so you are asking us to review your case again, and we will gladly do that. We want to ensure that every eligible Vermonter gets all the assistance they qualify for."
State and federal disaster assistance is available in Addison, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orleans and Washington counties for those affected by the spring storms and flooding that occurred from April 23rd to May 9th and May 26th to May 27th.
In some cases, a minor mistake or omission of information may have resulted in the letter being sent.
"Applicants who receive a letter from FEMA stating they are ineligible for assistance should review it thoroughly and carefully," said Vermont Emergency Management Director Mike O'Neil. "In addition to listing some of the reasons the aid was denied, it will 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 and should be mailed to:
FEMA Appeals Officer
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055
Or it can be faxed it to: (800) 827-8112. Applicants should 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.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
SBA disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov or completed on-line at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to e...