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There are Many Reasons Disaster Survivors Receive a Letter From FEMA

Release date: 
September 15, 2011
Release Number: 

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentuckians in Bell, Knox and Perry County who registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency will receive a letter after they apply for disaster assistance. The letter explains the current status of an individual's disaster assistance application.

"We want to remind disaster survivors to carefully read the entire letter, because FEMA may need additional information," said John Heltzel, director of Kentucky Emergency Management and commonwealth coordinating officer for Kentucky.

It is important to know the initial decision may change if your insurance or other government assistance is not enough to cover disaster-related loss or damages.

"The Commonwealth is working with FEMA to be sure Kentuckians get all the help they are eligible for as they recover from the June storms," said Heltzel. "If survivors need assistance with home repairs, are looking for a place to rent or need personal items such as furniture or clothing, they should call FEMA."

Sometimes people do not qualify for financial help right away, because further documentation needs to be submitted to FEMA. Some of the reasons for an initial turn down are:

  • Records have not been provided to show the damaged property was the applicant's primary residence at the time of the disaster;
  • The applicant has not received their insurance settlement;
  • Information may be needed such as a record of income or the correct address;
  • Proof of home ownership or rental documentation;
  • The Small Business Administration disaster loan application has not been returned; or
  • Essential documents are not signed.

"Just because the letter says an applicant isn't eligible for disaster assistance, this decision is not necessarily final," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer W. M. Moore. "Applicants can ask FEMA to reconsider the decision if they disagree with what the letter says."

If an applicant does not agree with the decision, they can file an appeal. Appeals may relate to eligibility, the amount or type of help provided, a late application, a request to return money or continuing help. An appeal must be sent to FEMA and postmarked within 60 days of the date the decision letter is received. To appeal, follow these steps:

  1. Explain in writing why you think the decision about the amount or type of assistance is not correct.
    • When submitting the letter, include your full name, date and place of birth, and current address.
    • You must sign the letter. The letter must either be notarized and include a copy of a state issued identification card, or include the following statement, "I hereby declare under the penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct."
  2. Date the appeal letter and include the FEMA application number and disaster number (located at the top of the decision letter).
  3. Mail the appeal letter to:
    National Processing Service Center
    P.O. Box 10055
    Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
  4. Or fax the appeal letter to:
    Attention: FEMA

For questions about the letter, the appeal process, or to register for disaster assistance call 800-621-3362, TTY 800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362. Operators are multilingual. Calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST, until further notice.

Register with FEMA online at By smartphone or tablet, use and FEMA’s App for android phones can be downloaded at

Last Updated: 
July 8, 2017 - 10:50
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