FACT SHEET: Understanding FEMA Determination Letters and How to Appeal

Release Date Release Number
FS 007
Release Date:
April 10, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Applicants who receive an unfavorable decision letter from FEMA after registering for federal assistance for the Nov. 30 Alaska earthquake may want to appeal. Everybody has a right to appeal.

Residents should read their letters carefully to understand FEMA’s decision and know exactly what is needed to appeal. Additional documentation may be all it takes for FEMA to take another look at an application or home inspection. Sometimes, a simple solution is to check the accuracy of your name, birthdate and Social Security number.

Residents may submit an appeal letter if they think the amount and type of assistance are incorrect.FEMA’s grant amounts vary because every applicant’s situation is different. A brochure called“Help After a Disaster” is accessible online at www.fema.gov/help-after-disaster  and explains the actions an applicant should take.

Applicants are also required to submit, in writing, a letter explaining why FEMA should re-evaluate its decision. The letter should include:

  • Applicant’s full name
  • Registration number on all pages
  • FEMA disaster declaration number—DR-4413-AK—on all pages
  • Contractor’s estimate for home repairs (if applicable)
  • Applicant’s signature

FEMA can review its decision in some cases if the applicants:

  • Submit insurance documents. Provide documents from their insurance company that detail their 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 their 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. Residents who do not have a deed handy should contact their local officials about obtaining a copy.

To support an appeal, documentation might include:

  • a contractor’s estimate for earthquake-related home repairs (if applicable)
  • receipts for repair or cleanup
  • other proof of an applicant’s disaster losses

All documentation and the appeal letter can be delivered to the nearest disaster recovery center (locations at https://www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers). Residents can also submit the documents online at DisasterAssistance.gov or fax them to 800-827-8112, Attn: FEMA Appeals Officer.

Although FEMA cannot accept appeals and documentation by email, appeals can be mailed within 60 days of the date on the determination letter. If submitting an appeal after 60 days, include a reason for the delay.

Mail appeals to:FEMA National Processing Service CenterP.O. Box 10055Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

For more information on Alaska’s disaster recovery, visit FEMA.gov/disaster/4413, Twitter.com/FEMARegion10 and Facebook.com/FEMA.

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Last updated March 18, 2021