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Read Determination Letters Carefully

Release Date Release Number
005
Release Date:
September 20, 2021

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- If you have registered with FEMA and applied for disaster assistance after the Remnants of Hurricane Ida, you might have received a FEMA letter by regular U.S. Postal Service mail or by email.

Read that letter very carefully. It may include eligibility notifications and/or request for more information. Eligibility Notification letters inform the applicant of the types of assistance FEMA has determined you are eligible or ineligible to receive, the amounts of assistance FEMA is providing from each eligible need, the reasons you are ineligible, an explanation of the appeals process, and other key information regarding disaster assistance, including proper use of funds.

If you receive an ineligible decision, it isn’t always the final word. If you disagree with a FEMA eligibility decision you may appeal the decision. FEMA reviews the applicant’s written appeal and documentation received from the applicant supporting the appeal. Upon review, FEMA either provides a written decision to you or requests more information. If FEMA upholds a decision on an appeal, FEMA’s decision is considered final and will generally not be reconsidered.

It could be that you just need to provide more information. Maybe:

  • You didn’t prove the damaged home was your primary residence at the time of the disaster, or that you lived in the home at the time. FEMA has recently expanded the types of documentation that FEMA will accept to support your request for assistance.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loan application has not been returned. This application is used to determine if you may be eligible for other grant programs or assistance.  Not returning the application will disqualify you from them and you do not have to accept a loan if one is offered.

If you disagree with a FEMA eligibility decision you may appeal the decision. FEMA reviews the applicant’s written appeal and documentation received from the applicant supporting the appeal. Upon review, FEMA either provides a written decision to you or requests more information. If FEMA upholds a decision on an appeal, FEMA’s decision is considered final and will generally not be reconsidered. You can appeal your eligibility, the amount or type of help provided to you, a late application denial, a request to return money, or continuing help. The appeal must be sent to FEMA and postmarked within 60 days of the date the decision letter is received. To appeal, follow these steps:

  • Explain the reason(s) for appeal and must be signed by the applicant or person who the applicant authorizes to act on their behalf.
  • Include your full name, date of birth, current address, disaster number, and FEMA registration number.
  • Be sure to date and sign the letter. Include your nine-digit FEMA registration number on each page.
  • Applicant’s signature with one of the following: Notary stamp or seal; or the statement “I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”
  • Mail the letter to FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055.
  • Or fax the form to 800-827-8112.
  • Appeal letters and supporting documentation can be uploaded to your account on DisasterAssistance.gov if you have set one up.
  • For questions about the letter or the entire appeal process, you can visit DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or by calling 800.621.3362. If you use a relay service, such as a videophone, InnoCaption, or CapTel, give FEMA the number for that service.  Operators are on duty seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

For referrals to agencies that support community specific need, contact your nearest 211 counts center at https://www.211nys.org/contact-us.  In NYC call 311 for outlying area, call 211.

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Last updated September 20, 2021