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FEMA Applicant Letters Not End of Line

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Release date: 
December 16, 2013
Release Number: 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois tornado survivors who registered for federal disaster assistance may receive letters from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that say they’re ineligible for help.

They can, however, turn what appears to be a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’.

Survivors can ask FEMA to review their application again if they appeal the agency’s decision within 60 days of receiving their letters.

FEMA cannot duplicate assistance that comes from insurance benefits or other government sources, but FEMA’s initial determination of ineligibility may change if private insurance or other government assistance is not enough to cover all the eligible damage.

It’s important for survivors to read their letters carefully because they provide explanations of what steps need to be taken to change the status of their request for assistance. Some of the reasons for an initial turn down can be easily remedied with more information such as:

  • Calling or writing to FEMA when a final insurance settlement is agreed upon.
  • Providing proof of ownership or residence, especially documents showing the damaged property was the primary residence at the time of the disaster.
  • Returning a completed Small Business Administration disaster loan application.
  • Signing essential documents.

Survivors can ask for another review to appeal the amount or type of help provided or any other decision about federal disaster assistance. Many issues can be resolved if applicants follow up with updated information or documentation.

When appealing, applicants should explain in writing why they disagree with a decision along with any new or additional documents supporting the appeal.

Appeal letters should include:

  • Federal disaster declaration number ‘4157-DR-IL’ on all pages of documents
  • Applicant information, including;
    • Nine-digit FEMA application number on all pages of documents
    • Name
    • Date and place of birth
    • Address of the damaged dwelling
  • Copies of verifiable documentation supporting the appeal. All receipts, bills and estimates must include contact information for the service provider. Applicants should keep all originals for their records.
  • A copy of a state-issued identification card, unless the letter is notarized or includes the following statement: “I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true

and correct.”

  • The applicant’s signature.

Applicants may mail the appeal letter to:


National Processing Service Center

P.O. Box 10055

Hyattsville, MD  20782-7055

Applicants may fax the appeal letter to:


Attention: FEMA

It is important to have appeal letters postmarked within 60 days of the date on the decision letter.

If applicants have any questions about appealing, they should call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or

TTY 800-462-7585 or go to

For the latest information on Illinois’ recovery from the Nov. 17 storms, visit Follow FEMA online at, and The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.                                                                    

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.

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).

NEWS DESK: 217-522-2080


Last Updated: 
December 16, 2013 - 17:16
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