Survivors With Questions About Their FEMA Letters Can Get Answers

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Release date: 
September 12, 2012
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Disaster survivors who don’t understand FEMA correspondence or disagree with FEMA decisions can call the Helpline or visit a disaster recovery center for assistance

CLINTON, Miss. – Everyone who registers with FEMA receives a letter telling them the status of their application. Survivors who don’t understand the letter or disagree with FEMA’s decision should visit a Disaster Recovery Center or call the FEMA Helpline to get more information and assistance with questions.

The most common reason for denial of housing assistance and other aid is that an applicant has not submitted proof of an insurance settlement. Some other reasons for an initial turndown can be that applicants:

  • Have not provided FEMA all the information needed.
  • Did not provide proof of ownership or residence.
  • Have not provided records that showed the damaged property was their primary residence at the time of the disaster.
  • Have not signed essential documents.

FEMA cannot duplicate assistance from insurance benefits or other government sources. However, FEMA aid may be approved if all eligible damage is not covered by private insurance or other government assistance.

Disaster survivors have a right to ask FEMA to reconsider a decision on their eligibility for assistance, but such appeals must be filed in writing within 60 days of the date of the determination letter. Applicants who have questions can call the helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 or visit a disaster recovery center.

Disaster assistance for qualified homeowners and renters may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs or serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance. The U.S. Small Business Administration also offers low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and business owners.

Survivors who are not eligible for FEMA assistance or do not qualify for an SBA loan, may be referred to voluntary agencies, faith-based organizations or other community groups.


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.

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.

Last Updated: 
September 12, 2012 - 12:55
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