Read Your Determination Letter Carefully

Release Date:
November 29, 2021

If you applied for FEMA disaster assistance after Hurricane Ida, you might have already received a determination letter by regular mail or email.

Read that letter very carefully. It may include eligibility notifications and/or requests for more information. This letter informs you of the types of assistance FEMA has determined you are eligible or ineligible to receive, the amounts of assistance FEMA is providing for each eligible need, the reasons an applicant is ineligible for the applicable types of assistance, an explanation of the appeals process, and other key information regarding disaster assistance, including proper use of disaster assistance funds.

Sometimes people need further documentation to be submitted to FEMA for eligibility. For example

  • 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 or rental agreement to prove occupancy; or
  • The completed Small Business Administration Disaster Loan application.

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.

If you appeal the decision, FEMA reviews the appeal and documentation supporting it. Upon review, FEMA either provides the final decision or requests more information. If FEMA upholds the decision after you appeal, that decision will generally not be reconsidered.

To appeal, follow these steps

  • The appeal must be in writing and signed by you, the co-applicant, or by a person whom you authorize to act on your behalf.
  • The appeal letter should explain the reason(s) for the appeal, why you disagree with FEMA’s decision, and copies of any documents supporting your appeal, including proof of your disaster-caused losses.
  • Include your full name, current address, disaster number (DR-4626-MS), and your FEMA application number on all documents.
  • All documents, receipts, bills, and/or repair estimates must include contact information for the services provider, allowing FEMA to verify the information.
  • Mail to FEMA, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055; or
  • Fax to 800-827-8112 (Attn: FEMA); or
  • Upload to your account on DisasterAssistance.gov if you have set one up. Click “Check Status” on the Home Page and follow the instructions.

For questions about the determination letter or the appeal process, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or call 800-621-3362. If you use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption, or CapTel, give FEMA the number for that service. Operators are on duty seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time.

For official information on the Mississippi recovery effort, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4626. Follow the recovery at twitter.com/femaregion4 and www.facebook.com/fema.

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Last updated December 7, 2021