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How to Appeal a FEMA Decision on Assistance

Release Date Release Number
NR 035

BATON ROUGE, La. – Survivors who registered with FEMA for disaster assistance as a result of Hurricane Laura will receive a determination letter explaining the eligibility decision and the reason for that decision.

For those who are eligible, the letter states the dollar amount of the grant and how the funds should be used. When ineligible, the letter explains why and how the applicant can appeal that decision.

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 childcare assistance letter.
  • There were multiple registrations using the same address.
  • Damage 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 minimum or no damage.
  • Missed inspections and no follow-up communication with FEMA.
  • FEMA is unable to contact the applicant.

Many of these issues can be easily resolved by visiting a Drive-through Disaster Recovery Center or calling the FEMA helpline: 800-621-3362 (TTY) 800-462-7585. To find the nearest drive-thru DRC you can text 43362 and type DRC (Your Zip Code) for example DRC 12345.

Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service.

If that does not resolve the problem, everyone has a right of appeal. To do so, an applicant must send a letter to FEMA asking for a reconsideration and explaining in detail why the appeal is being filed.

FEMA will need the applicant’s full name, address of pre-disaster residence, current phone number and address, and signature. The appeal must be postmarked within 60 days of the date the FEMA denial letter was received.

Include the statement, “I hereby declare under the penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”

Date the appeal letter, include your nine-digit FEMA application number and the disaster code (DR-4559-LA), and mail or fax it to:

FEMA National Processing Service Center

P. O. Box 10055

Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

Fax: 800-827-8112; Attention: FEMA

An easy way to provide any additional information needed is by setting up an online account and uploading documents there.

To set up a disaster assistance account:

    • Go to https://www.disasterassistance.gov/
    • Select the Create Account button at the bottom of the page and follow instructions.
    • A PIN will be sent to the email address on file. Then log into the account.
  • You can then upload your important documents in the Upload Center. (This page takes you to the login if you are returning to add more documents: https://go.usa.gov/xUPX5.)

For the latest information on Hurricane Laura, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4559 or follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6.

Last updated September 28, 2020