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Understanding FEMA Determination Letters and How to Appeal

Release date: 
November 5, 2019
Release Number: 
DR-4466-TX NR 018

AUSTIN, TX – Survivors who registered with FEMA for disaster assistance because they were affected by Tropical Storm Imelda will receive a determination letter explaining the eligibility decision and the reason for that decision. If approved, it will state the dollar amount of the grant and how the funds should be used and when ineligible, the letter explains why and how the applicant can appeal that decision.


Survivors receiving an “ineligible” letter are not necessarily disqualified for assistance. Additional information or corrections may be needed to process their application.


Some common reasons for being declared ineligible 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 damage
  • Missed inspections and no follow-up communication with FEMA
  • FEMA is unable to contact the applicant

An appeal should be filed in the form of a signed letter within 60 days of the date on the determination letter. In the appeal, explain why you disagree with the decision. Include any requested information and supporting documentation. Make sure to include the following: 


  • Applicant’s full name, date of birth and current address
  • Applicant’s signature and the date
  • Applicant’s registration number (on every page)
  • FEMA disaster declaration number – DR-4466 (on every page)

You must include a copy of your state-issued ID, have the letter notarized or include the statement “I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.” If the person writing the appeal letter is not the applicant or a member of the applicant’s household, a statement must be included granting the writer authorization to act on their behalf.


Appeal letters and supporting documentation can be uploaded quickly to your account on, faxed to 800-827-8112 with the cover sheet provided with your FEMA determination letter; or submitted at a Disaster Recovery Center where assistance is also available to assist in ensuring all necessary documents are included.


Letters may also be sent by mail to:


FEMA National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055


FEMA’s grant amounts vary because every applicant’s situation is different. A brochure called “Help After a Disaster” is accessible online at  and explains the actions an applicant should take.


For questions about eligibility letters, survivors can visit, or call the Disaster Assistance help line at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).


Aid is available to residents of Chambers, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Orange and San Jacinto counties, who incurred losses from Sept. 17-23. The deadline to apply for assistance is Dec. 3, 2019.


To learn more about recovering from Imelda, visit and Follow us on Twitter at and the FEMA blog at


Follow FEMA online at,,,,, and


FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during and after disasters.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has faced discrimination, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362, voice/VP/711. Multilingual operators are available. TTY users may call 800-462-7585.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. TTY users may also call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also email or visit SBA at

Last Updated: 
November 5, 2019 - 12:46