CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- Any applicant for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency receiving a letter indicating that he or she is ineligible for help could still qualify. Disaster officials might simply need more information.
If you are a homeowner or renter who suffered damage in the recent storms and flooding in West Virginia you should register with FEMA immediately even if you aren’t sure you are eligible. "Let us decide that,” said FEMA spokesman Frank Blake. "Call the FEMA Hot Line at 800-621-3362 or go online at DisasterAssistance.gov." For those with speech or hearing disabilities, use the TTY number, 800-462-7585. Applicants can also reach FEMA with any web-enabled device at m.fema.gov.
Within a few days, applicants will receive a letter from FEMA informing them of any decision.
"Read the letter carefully," Blake said. "Things might be lacking, like information to prove occupancy or ownership of the damaged property, proof of identity, documentation of disaster damage, or evidence of what is covered under existing insurance policies."
FEMA does not duplicate insurance coverage, Blake said, but federal assistance may apply if damage documented in FEMA inspections exceeds the amount covered by insurance. Applicants should not wait to hear from their insurance companies before registering with FEMA. Insurance claims could be settled too late to apply for federal help.
FEMA might have received two applications from the same household, while only a single head of household is eligible to apply for aid. This or other factors could result in an applicant receiving a negative determination. Also, clerical errors are possible. If that happens, FEMA will respond quickly when it is made aware of any mistake.
Under the FEMA Individual and Households Program, an appeal process is provided for in case:
- You are told you are ineligible for any reason;
- You are unhappy with the amount of money you were approved for;
- Your application was deemed late in submission;
- You are asked to give money back you received; and/or
- Your application was denied without clear justification.
Explain, in writing, why you think a decision was made in error. You have to include in the letter your full name, date and place of birth and the address of your primary residence (where the damage occurred). Also include your FEMA Application Number and the number of the disaster (for example, “DR- 4061- WV, which will be shown on the letter from FEMA).
Have the letter notarized or attach a copy of your driver’s license or any other government-issued (state or federal) identification, or write on the letter, "I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct." It is a crime to make false statements to the government. If you have someone else write the letter, say that you did so, and sign the letter yourself.
Send it to:
National Processing Service Center
PO Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20702-7055
or fax it to 800- 827-8112, Attention: FEMA
Your letter must be postmarked (and dated inside) within 60 days of receipt of the letter from FEMA alerting you of the official decision.
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.