JACKSON, Miss. – Some Mississippi tornado survivors who registered for federal disaster assistance may receive letters or other correspondence from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that say they’re ineligible for help.
However, in many cases, they may be able to turn what appears to be a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ by following through and providing additional information.
It’s important for survivors to carefully read letters and other information provided by FEMA because they include explanations of what steps need to be taken to have the status of their request for assistance reconsidered by FEMA.
Some of the reasons for an initial turn down can be easily remedied with more information such as:
- Submitting insurance settlement documents to FEMA.
- Providing proof of ownership and primary residence at that address at the time of the disaster.
- Signing essential documents.
Survivors can ask FEMA to review their application again if they appeal the agency’s decision in writing and their letter is postmarked within 60 days of the date on the FEMA decision letter (not the date they received the FEMA letter.)
FEMA cannot duplicate assistance that comes from insurance benefits or other 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.
If the decision is ineligible due to insurance coverage, the applicant may send their insurance settlement documents to FEMA within 12 months of the date they registered with FEMA. Insured applicants are encouraged to always submit their settlement documents for a final decision on whether they qualify for a FEMA grant.
Applicants can appeal FEMA’s decision. 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 ‘4175-DR-MS’ on all pages of documents.
- Applicant information, including:
- Nine-digit FEMA application number on all pages of documents,
- Full name,
- Date and place of birth, and
- 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 appeal letters to:
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
Applicants may fax appeal letters to:
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 a decision, they should call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or
TTY 800-462-7585 or go to FEMA.gov/Help-After-Disaster.
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). If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 directly; if you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.