All survivors who apply for FEMA assistance will receive a letter from FEMA stating an eligibility decision and the reason for it. Survivors can also check the status of their applications online at DisasterAssistance.gov, which is the fastest way to get information to and from FEMA.
Each application is processed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis, so be sure to read your letter very carefully and respond if necessary. If you do not agree with the decision in the determination letter, you may appeal.
Remember, a no-decision letter does NOT mean you have been denied. Read your determination letter carefully. You could be missing documents or FEMA may need more information.
Additional Documentation That May be Needed
- Utility bills, to prove the damaged property was the primary residence at the time of the disaster
- Insurance paperwork that is still pending, which will determine other programs the survivor will be eligible for with FEMA
- A pay stub or a government-issued picture ID that has the damaged property listed
- Proof of home ownership, like copies of mortgage payments or a house deed
- A renter’s lease to prove occupancy
- The completed Small Business Administration Disaster Loan application
Factors That May Affect Eligibility
- Insufficient damage. Sometimes survivors have insufficient damage to their home and/or personal property and do not qualify for assistance. FEMA reviews each survivor’s situation on a case-by-case basis to cover basic recovery needs.
- Multiple registrations using your address. Generally, only one registration will be accepted per address. In some cases, due to household composition, multiple applicants such as roommates may apply. If you live in an apartment or condo, include the unit information in your registration.
- Damage occurred to secondary residence. If the damage occurred to a secondary residence where you live less than six months out of the year, you may be ineligible for FEMA assistance.
If you have complied with all of FEMA’s requests and are still deemed ineligible but you disagree, an appeal process is available. Appeals may relate to eligibility, the amount or type of help provided, a late application, a request to return money, or continuing help. The appeal must be sent to FEMA and postmarked within 60 days of the date of the decision letter.
For questions about eligibility letters, visit DisasterAssistance.gov or call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available.
It is recommended if you use a relay service, such as your videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel, you should provide your specific number assigned to that service. It is important that FEMA can contact you, and you should know phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.
How to Contact FEMA
- Online at DisasterAssistance.gov
- Call the Helpline at 800-621-3362, TTY 800-462-7585
- Download the FEMA mobile app