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FEMA Determination Letters: Getting a Second Chance

Release date: 
February 20, 2017
Release Number: 

BATON ROUGE, La. — If you disagree with the determination letter you received from FEMA, a quick fix may be all that’s needed to change the decision.

Everybody has a right to appeal. You should read the determination letter carefully to understand FEMA’s decision and know exactly what is needed to appeal.

Many times applicants just need to submit some extra documents for FEMA to process their application. FEMA can reconsider your application in some cases if you:

  • Submit insurance documents. Provide documents from your insurance company that show 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 you should contact your local or parish officials about obtaining a copy.

As a tornado survivor, you may submit an appeal letter if you think the amount and type of assistance is incorrect. Disaster survivors should receive a booklet after applying for FEMA assistance called “Help After a Disaster” that explains what they need to provide for their situation. The booklet is available online at

Your letter should also include:

  • Your full name
  • Your registration number on all pages
  • The contractor’s estimate for home repairs
  • The FEMA disaster declaration number—DR-4300-LA—on all pages
  • Your signature

Within 60 days of receiving a determination letter, you should mail your documents and letter to:

FEMA National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

You can also submit them online at, fax them to 800-827-8112, or submit them at a Disaster Recovery Center.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:01