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Understanding Your FEMA Letter and How to Appeal It

Release date: 
November 1, 2016
Release Number: 
DR-4280-4283-FL NR 007

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – If you applied for FEMA help in the aftermath of the recent hurricanes and you disagree with the decision stated in the letter you received, a quick fix may be all that is needed to change it. 

It’s important that you read your letter carefully to understand FEMA’s decision so you will know exactly what you need to do. Many times applicants just have to submit extra documents for FEMA to process their application.

Examples of missing documentation may include an insurance settlement letter, proof of residence, proof of ownership of the damaged property, and proof that the damaged property was your primary residence at the time of the disaster.

If instructed and needed, you can simply submit missing documentation to FEMA online at www.disasterassistance.gov, by mail or fax, or by visiting a Disaster Recovery Center.

There may be more than one reason you disagree with FEMA’s decision. For example, if you feel the amount or type of assistance is incorrect, you may submit an appeal letter and any documents needed to support your claim, such as a contractor’s estimate for home repairs.

If you have insurance, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments. However, if you’re under-insured you may receive further assistance for unmet needs after insurance claims have been settled.

How to Appeal a FEMA Decision

All appeals must be filed in writing to FEMA. You should explain why you think the decision is incorrect. When submitting your letter, please include:

  • Your full name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Address

In addition, your letter must be either notarized, include a copy of a state issued identification card, or include the following statement, “I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.” You must sign the letter.

If someone other than you or the co-applicant is writing the letter, there must be a signed statement from you affirming that the person may act on your behalf. You should keep a copy of your appeal for your records.

To file an appeal, letters must be postmarked, received by fax, or personally submitted at a Disaster Recovery Center within 60 days of the date on the determination letter.

By mail:

FEMA – Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

By fax:
800-827-8112
Attention: FEMA – Individuals & Households Program

You should have received a booklet called "Help after a Disaster." It explains what you need to provide for your appeal. The booklet is available online at www.fema.gov/help-after-disaster.

If you have any questions about submitting insurance documents, proving occupancy or ownership, or anything else about your letter, you may call the FEMA helpline 800-621-3362 (voice/711/VRS-Video Relay Service) (TTY: 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available (for Spanish press 2). The toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

For more information on Florida’s disaster recovery visit fema.gov/disaster/4280, fema.gov/disaster/4283, twitter.com/femaregion4, facebook.com/FEMA, and fema.gov/blog, floridadisaster.org or #FLRecovers. For imagery, video, graphics and releases, see fema.gov/Hurricane-Matthew.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:02