Understand Your Appeal Options If You Don’t Agree with a FEMA Decision

Release Date Release Number
NR-059
Release Date:
November 18, 2022

San Juan, Puerto Rico — If you applied for assistance and don’t agree with FEMA’s decision or have new information relevant to your application, you can generally appeal.

FEMA sends letters of determination to applicants who provide incomplete information. Maybe you didn’t show proof of identity, verification of homeownership, or documentation that you lived in your home before Hurricane Fiona. By submitting this information, FEMA can reconsider your case.

While most FEMA decisions may be appealed, applicants cannot appeal FEMA’s Critical Needs Assistance grant of $700 or its Clean and Sanitize Assistance grant of $300. These grants are one-time payments for survivors who meet eligibility requirements.

Include Evidence to Support Your Appeal

To appeal a decision, you must understand why FEMA considered the application ineligible or is holding off on a decision. Carefully read your FEMA letter, because it specifies why you are ineligible and recommends actions that may change the decision. Often, the reason is simply a missing document or information. For example, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits from other sources, including insurance. However, if your policy doesn’t cover all your essential needs, or your company denied your claim, you may submit your insurance settlement or denial letter for FEMA to review. 

You Have 60 Days to Send FEMA Your Appeal

One of the most important parts of the appeal process is sending it in on time. You have 60 days from the date on your FEMA determination letter to send in your appeal. Keep in mind that after FEMA receives your appeal, you may receive a phone call or a follow-up letter asking for more information.

In your letter to FEMA, explain the decision you're appealing and the supporting information you've included to support your claim. Sign and date the letter. Don't forget to include your nine-digit FEMA application number, the disaster number for Hurricane Fiona (DR-4671-PR) and any additional documentation to support your appeal.

You can get help writing your appeal letter, as well as address other disaster-related legal concerns through free legal disaster-related assistance provided by Disaster Legal Services (DLS). For information about DLS, call the toll-free legal aid hotline Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. at 1-800-981-5342 or by email at info@ayudalegalpr.org. This service is provided by the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association and Servicios Legales de Puerto Rico in collaboration with FEMA.

You can send your appeal by any of these ways:

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

  • Fax: 1-800-827-8112, Attention: FEMA

  • Online: upload the documents to your FEMA online account. To set up an account or to upload documents, go to www.DisasterAssistance.gov, click on “Check Your Application and Log In” and follow the directions.

  • Visit: Go to any open Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to submit your documents in person. Find your nearest DRC by visiting the DRC locator.

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Last updated November 18, 2022