Ineligibility Letters Start Conversations Between Survivors and FEMA

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Release date: 
September 22, 2012
Release Number: 

BATON ROUGE, La. – Hurricane Isaac 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 any questions they may have or learn how they can initiate the appeal process. Survivors should know that FEMA specialists are available to explain or discuss these determinations.

Applicants can initiate a conversation by calling the FEMA Helpline or by visiting one of the 26 Disaster Recovery Centers open across southeast Louisiana for this disaster. The ineligibility letter also contains information on how to submit requested documentation or file an appeal.

“It’s important that Hurricane Isaac survivors reach out to us if they have specific questions about their cases. We are happy to provide answers for them,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Hall 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 hurricane-related damage to prevent living in the home
  • Adequate insurance coverage
  • Incorrect or missing contact information
  • Additional personal or insurance information is needed to complete the assistance evaluation process
  • Lapsed flood insurance or noncompliance with flood-insurance requirements from a previous disaster
  • No need or desire to relocate

If the ineligibility is based on the applicant’s decision to remain in the home and these circumstances change, they may contact FEMA to let us know they will relocate and to request rental assistance. Applicants may contact the Helpline within 30 days of the date of the ineligibility letter to notify FEMA of the change. If applicants change their mind after the 30-day deadline, they should put the request for rental assistance in writing.

Applicants who wish to appeal any ineligibility 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.  

Louisianans are encouraged to register online at, via web-enabled phone at, or by telephone at 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 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

For more information on Louisiana disaster recovery, click on or Follow us on Twitter at or on Facebook at Also visit our blog at

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 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.  Follow us on Twitter at!/femaregion6, the R6 Hurricane Preparedness website at and the FEMA Blog at

SBA is the federal government’s primary source of funding for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).

Last Updated: 
September 22, 2012 - 12:19
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