MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A letter denying assistance to storm survivors may not be the last word.
Every applicant for federal assistance has the right to file an appeal for another review of their case. In filing an appeal, documentation that proves the applicant’s reason for filing the appeal must be included.
A denial letter does not necessarily mean an applicant is not eligible for assistance,” said Federal
For example, an applicant might receive a letter indicating that the Federal Emergency Management Agency did not receive all the information it needed to provide the applicant with assistance. In that particular case, an appeal that provides all the missing information may be successful,” he said.
It is important that applicants read all letters from FEMA carefully,” added Lewis.
“We want to ensure everyone who is eligible receives all the assistance they are entitled to,” said Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director, Art Faulkner. “People should not be discouraged if they need to file an appeal to be sure they access the available help.”
Assistance may be denied because the applicant failed to provide complete information to support their initial claim.
Some reasons for a denial because of incomplete information are that the applicant did not:
- Provide an insurance denial or settlement letter.
- Provide proof that the damaged property was the primary residence at the time of the disaster;
- Provide evidence of identity;
- Provide documentation of the disaster damage;
- Provide proof of ownership of the damaged property;
- Sign all the documents.
If an applicant receives an award but believes the amount to be too low, an appeal for a higher award can be submitted with documentation to support the change to the award.
If an applicant’s damages and losses are covered by insurance, the application may be denied because FEMA cannot duplicate benefits.
Appeals must be postmarked within 60 days of receipt of a letter denying assistance. Applicants or someone they designate to act on their behalf must explain in writing why they believe the initial response was wrong and provide any new or additional information and documents that support the appeal.
More information on filing an appeal is in the Applicant’s Guide FEMA mails to each applicant and online at www.fema.gov. Applicants may talk with experts daily 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. on FEMA’s toll free Helpline, 800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585. Applicants can check the status of their appeals by calling these same numbers or online at: www.fema.gov.