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Understanding your FEMA Determination Letter: You Have the Right to Appeal

Release date: 
August 5, 2019
Release Number: 

Survivors who registered with Federal Emergency Management Agency for disaster assistance because of the severe storms and flooding that occurred in South Texas between June 24-25, 2019, will receive a determination letter explaining the eligibility decision and the reason for that decision. 


If you got a letter, email or text from FEMA declining your application for assistance and you disagree with the determination, you have the right to appeal.


It’s important to read the determination letter carefully to identify the reason for being declared ineligible. Some common reasons include:


  • The person is insured and needs to provide an insurance settlement or denial to be considered for assistance
  • Additional information is needed from the survivor, i.e. proof of identity, proof of occupancy, annual income, or a child care assistance letter
  • There were multiple registrations using the same address
  • Damages occurred to a secondary residence (where the survivor lives less than six months of the year)
  • The home is safe to occupy, and/or personal property had minimal or no damages
  • Missed inspections and no follow-up communication with FEMA
  • FEMA is unable to contact the applicant

Once an applicant understands the reason for being ineligible, they can decide whether to appeal the decision. To do so, they need to submit all required information along with a letter describing in detail their reason (or reasons) for appealing. 


All appeals must be filed in writing. 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 of the damaged dwelling
  • Your FEMA registration number and disaster number

There are two options for submitting your letter.

  • You can have your letter notarized. If you choose this option, please 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 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 the 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 you received the FEMA determination letter.


By mail:

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


By fax:
Attention: FEMA – Individuals & Households Program


If you have questions, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Services may call 800-621-3362. Those who use TTY may call 800-462-7585. Operators are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week.

Last Updated: 
August 5, 2019 - 17:37