WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Applicants for federal disaster assistance who receive a letter informing them they are not eligible for reimbursement for damages caused by Tropical Storm Irene during the period August 27-29 may still be able to get help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
People with questions should call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 (individuals with a hearing or speech disability may call 1-800-462-7585) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Contact may also be made through the Internet at www.disasterassistance.gov or by mobile devices at m.fema.gov.
By law, FEMA cannot duplicate what insurance already covers or reimburse deductibles. In some cases, disaster assistance can be provided until an insurance settlement is paid. Proceeds from the settlement would then be used to repay FEMA to avoid a duplication of benefits.
If the reason for the decision cannot be cleared up by phone or Internet contact, then a written appeal should be made with FEMA within 60 days of the date on the document. Letters should include the applicant's FEMA disaster identification registration number and the federal disaster declaration number. It also is important to date the 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 1-800-827-8112 with a cover sheet addressed to: Attention -- FEMA Appeals Officer
"The recovery process doesn't necessarily end with this initial determination," said Federal Coordinating Officer James N. Russo. "Sometimes ineligibility may mean that more information is needed before the analysis can be completed or an applicant's status has changed."
"Appealing a FEMA decision can ensure that registered individuals in the federally declared counties will receive every penny for which they are legally eligible," said State Coordinating Officer Kurt Schwartz. "It makes sense for the applicant to take an active role in the assistance delivery process."
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.