Disaster Assistance Includes Right of Appeal

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Release date: 
August 18, 2011
Release Number: 
1981-052

BISMARCK, N.D. – Some North Dakota residents who have applied for disaster assistance may have received a letter saying their application is denied. They should know that they have the right to appeal that decision.

Applicants who received a denial letter should make sure they understand why they were denied. It may be due to adequate insurance coverage, insufficient storm-related damage or simply missing information. A visit to a Disaster Recovery Center or a call to the FEMA help line at 1-800-621-3362 can help provide a better explanation.

Many applicants find that their circumstances have changed from the time they registered for assistance. They may have discovered additional damage to their property, or that they need housing help after all. Renters may find upon returning that their residences are unlivable. Whatever the reason, applicants have the right to appeal a denial within 60 days from the date of the decision of the letter.

Applicants must explain in writing why they believe the initial FEMA response was wrong and provide new or additional information and documents to support the appeal. They must also include their FEMA application number and disaster number in the letter, plus their full name and address. The letter must be either notarized, a copy of a state issued identification card (driver’s license) included, or the following statement written: “I hereby declare under penalty of law that the foregoing is true and correct.” The letter must be mailed to FEMA, National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055.

Guidelines for appeals can be found in the handbook titled “Help After A Disaster” that each applicant receives.

Applicants with damaged wells or septic systems must also go through the appeal process. In addition to sending a letter to the above address, they need to include either a receipt or an estimate from a licensed contractor that demonstrates the work is to restore the well or septic system, not upgrade it.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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