AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas wildfire survivors who received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stating they are ineligible for disaster assistance should remember the letter is the beginning, not the end, of a conversation with FEMA.
FEMA encourages survivors who receive an ineligibility letter to ask the agency to revisit the decision. The letter contains information on how to submit requested documentation or file an appeal.
“Something as simple as an outdated phone number or missing information can prompt the letter,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. “Survivors should follow up with us to understand why they received the notice and to let us take a second look.”
An applicant may be determined ineligible for a variety of reasons, including:
- Insufficient fire-related damage
- Adequate insurance coverage
- A desire not to relocate
- Incorrect or missing contact information
- Additional personal or insurance information is needed to complete the assistance evaluation process
Applicants who wish to appeal the decision should submit a letter explaining in detail why they believe the decision is incorrect. The applicant, or someone who represents the applicant, should sign the letter and include their application number on each page of the letter and on any documentation that is also submitted. If the person writing the letter is not a member of the applicant’s household, the appeal should include a signed statement from the applicant affirming that the person may act on their behalf.
The appeal letter must be postmarked, received by fax or personally submitted at a Disaster Recovery Center within 60 days of the date on the decision letter. Keeping a copy of the appeal letter as a record is encouraged.
Appeal letters can be mailed to:
FEMA Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
Appeal letters can be faxed to:
ATTN: FEMA Individuals & Households Program
Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repair and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources.
Applicants ineligible for FEMA assistance may still be eligible for other programs such as disaster unemployment or help from nonprofit organizations. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are also available for homeowners, renters, and business owners for losses not fully covered by insurance or other sources.
Texans can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by telephone via FEMA’s toll-free numbers: 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. Operators are available from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
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.