Florida residents affected by Hurricane Michael may have received a letter from FEMA saying they are ineligible for Housing Assistance. There are five main reasons why you might receive this determination. In each case, you can appeal that initial decision and possibly become eligible for housing assistance.
Keep in mind:
- FEMA cannot pay for damage covered by insurance or duplicate benefits from another source.
- FEMA grants are meant for costs to return your home to a safe and sanitary living space or functional condition. Damage to non-essential space or property is not eligible under FEMA programs. If you have questions about the type of damage eligible under FEMA programs, you can call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY).
- The disaster-related damage must have occurred at your primary residence.
- Your disaster-damaged property must be located in a county designated for federal individual assistance for (NAME OF DISASTER, DURING INCIDENT PERIOD DATES)
No. 1: Insufficient damage to your residence as determined by a FEMA-contracted inspector. In other words, your home is still safe, sanitary and functional.
- The damage caused by the current disaster has not made your home unsafe to live in. Your home is still safe and sanitary or functional. If you disagree with FEMA’s decision, you can appeal in writing. Get third-party documentation to support your appeal (such as a bid for repairs or contractor estimates) that states your home is uninhabitable due to the disaster.
- If you live in an apartment building and the owner requires you to leave so repairs can be made to the building, you should register or update your status with FEMA. You may be eligible for assistance.
- Send an appeal letter to FEMA asking for reconsideration. This must be done within 60 days of the date of your ineligibility letter.
- Mail the letter and documentation to: FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville MD 20782-7055. Or fax the documents to: 800-827-8112.
No. 2: You have an insurance policy that covered damage to your home.
- If your insurance settlement is delayed longer than 30 days, contact FEMA. You may be eligible for an advance (that must be repaid).
- Also, contact FEMA if your insurance settlement is insufficient to meet your Michael-related needs or if you have exhausted the Additional Living Expenses provided by the insurance company.
No. 3: You indicated on your application that you did not want to move while your damaged home was being repaired. This made you ineligible for FEMA temporary rental assistance. However, you have since found further damage to your home, which may require you to move.
- Since your housing needs have changed, contact FEMA to update your housing status and explain why you had (or will have) to relocate.
- You also may be eligible for repair or replacement grants for your home or personal property.
No. 4: You could not be contacted for a home inspection. The FEMA-contracted inspector may have tried to reach you numerous times but has not been able to schedule an appointment.
- If you missed an inspection appointment, contact FEMA and reschedule.
- Keep the information in your application up to date.
No. 5: FEMA could not verify your identity. The agency is unable to match your name and Social Security number.
- FEMA must be able to verify an applicant’s identity with a valid Social Security Number (SSN). By verifying identity, FEMA prevents fraud and ensures applicants receive the disaster assistance intended for them. Acceptable documents include:
- Social Security card (if accompanied by federal or state-issued identification)
- Employer’s payroll document containing full or last four digits of the SSN
- Military identification
- Marriage license to confirm proof of maiden name
- Documentation from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or other federal entity containing full or last four digits of SSN
- Do not mail original documents to FEMA.
FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during and after disasters.
For a list of locations where survivors can obtain commodities (water, food, etc.), visit www.floridadisaster.org/info.
For more Hurricane Michael recovery information, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4399.
Follow FEMA and the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Twitter at @FEMARegion4 and @FLSERT. You may also visit FEMA and the Division’s Facebook pages at Facebook.com/FEMA and Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.