Understanding Your FEMA Letter

Release Date Release Number
DR-4635-WA NR-008
Release Date:
January 21, 2022

LACEY, Wash. Washington residents who applied for assistance from FEMA after sustaining damage from floods and mudslides in November will receive a letter from the agency in the mail or via email.

The letter will explain your application status and how to respond. It is important to read the letter carefully because it will include the amount of any assistance FEMA may provide and information on the appropriate use of disaster assistance funds.

Applicants may need to submit additional information or supporting documentation for FEMA to continue to process an application for financial assistance. Examples of missing documentation may include:

Proof of insurance coverage

Settlement of insurance claims or denial letter from insurance provider

Proof of identity

Proof of occupancy

Proof of ownership

  • Proof that the damaged property was the applicant’s primary residence at the time of the disaster

If you have questions about your letter, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA the number for that service.

A FEMA inspection may be required to determine whether a home is safe, accessible and functional. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA is conducting exterior inspections. An interior inspection is not mandatory but if the owner and the inspector agree, an interior inspection may be conducted.

FEMA assistance is not the same as insurance. FEMA assistance only provides funds for basic work to make a home habitable, including items such as a roof, critical utilities, windows, toilets and doors.

Appealing FEMA’s Decision

Applicants who disagree with FEMA’s decision or the amount of assistance may submit an appeal letter and documents supporting their claim, such as a contractor’s estimate for home repairs.  FEMA cannot duplicate assistance provided by another source such as insurance settlements. However, those who are underinsured may receive further assistance for unmet needs after insurance claims have been settled by submitting insurance settlement or denial documents to FEMA. FEMA does not provide assistance for insurance deductibles.

Please submit the appeal in writing. In a signed and dated letter, explain the reason(s) for the appeal. It should also include:

Applicant’s full name

FEMA disaster number (FEMA DR-4635-WA for this disaster)

Address of the pre-disaster primary residence

Applicant’s current phone number and address

  • FEMA application number on all documents

A letter must be postmarked within 60 days of the date of the determination letter. An appeal letter and supporting documents may be submitted to the agency via a FEMA online account or by mail or fax.

To set up a FEMA online account, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, click on “Apply Online” and follow the directions in English or Spanish. At the account, you can also check the status of your application and upload personal information and documents as well as the appeal letter.

Or mail to FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville MD 20782-7055.

  • Or fax to 800-827-8112 (Attention: FEMA).

How to Apply for FEMA Assistance

Disaster survivors in Clallam, Skagit and Whatcom counties, including the Lummi Nation, Nooksack Indian Tribe, the Quileute Nation and other tribes in the three counties, may apply for assistance from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program. Survivors can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-3362, or by using the FEMA mobile app. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA the number for that service.

For an American Sign Language video on FEMA determination letters and the appeals process, visit youtube.com/watch?v=zehkQn8P5HI.

For more information about Washington flood recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4635.  Follow the FEMA Region 10 Twitter account at twitter.com/femaregion10.


FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.      

The Washington State Military Department’s Emergency Management Division leads and coordinates mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery in the state to minimize the impact of disasters and emergencies on the people, property, environment and economy.

Last updated January 22, 2022