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Louisiana Disaster Assistance Applicants: Understand FEMA Determination Letters and How to Appeal Them

Release date: 
September 30, 2016
Release Number: 

BATON ROUGE, La.— A quick fix may change your decision if you applied for FEMA help following Louisiana’s August severe storms and floods and you disagree with your determination letter.                                                                                                  

Everybody has a right to appeal. Read your determination letter carefully to understand FEMA’s decision and know exactly what you need to do for your appeal. Many times applicants just need to submit some extra documents for FEMA to process their application. FEMA can reconsider you in some cases if you:                                

  • Submit insurance documents. Provide documents from your insurance company that detail your coverage or settlement is insufficient to make essential home repairs, provide a place to stay, or replace certain contents. FEMA cannot duplicate homeowner or renter insurance benefits.
  • Prove occupancy. Provide documents that prove the damaged home or rental was your primary residence by supplying a copy of utility bills, driver’s license or lease.
  • Prove ownership. Provide documents such as mortgage or insurance documents, tax receipts or a deed. If you don’t have a deed handy, contact your local or parish officials about obtaining a copy.

There are many other reasons you may disagree with FEMA’s decision. If you feel the amount or type of assistance is incorrect, submit an appeal letter and any documents to support your claim, including a contractor’s estimate for home repairs. You should have received a booklet called "Help After a Disaster" that explains what you need to provide for your situation. The booklet is available online at

Your letter should also include:

  • Your full name
  • Your registration number on all pages
  • The FEMA disaster declaration number—DR-4277-LA—on all pages
  • Your signature

Mail documents and your letter within 60 days of receiving your determination letter to:

FEMA National Processing Service Center

P.O. Box 10055

Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

You can also submit them online at or fax them to 800-827-8112.

If you have any questions about submitting insurance documents, proving occupancy or ownership, or anything else about your determination letter, you may call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. If you use TTY, call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service can call 800-621-3362. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. You can also visit a Louisiana disaster recovery center and speak with a disaster assistance representative. Locate your closest center by going online to or by calling the FEMA helpline.

What to do if you disagree with FEMA’s decision letter1. Read the letter carefully to find out why the decision was made.Do you need to provide additional information?• Insurance determination letter.• Proof of occupancy or ownership.• Proof of ID.• Applicant’s signature.Common reasons for the initial decision:• The damage was to a secondary home or a rental property, not a primary residence.• Someone else in the household applied and received assistance.• Disaster-related losses could not be verified.• Insurance covered all losses.2. Contact FEMA for help with filing an appeal or any questions.Call800-621-3362 (711 or Video Relay Service available)800-462-7585 (TTY)VisitA Disaster Recovery Center3. File a written appeal.Explain why you think the decision was not correct.• Provide supporting information and documents.• Include your FEMA registration number on all documents.• Sign the letter.Mail or fax your appeal within 60 days of the decision letter date, or drop it off at a Disaster Recovery Center.
This graphic explains the appeals process for individuals who've applied for disaster assistance. Download Original
Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:02