All applicants receive letters from the Federal Emergency Management Administration explaining the status of their applications and whether or not they are eligible for assistance from FEMA. Some may receive text messages about their application. Take the time to read the document thoroughly. Sometimes people do not immediately qualify for financial help and the reason can be corrected.
The following are some common reasons for not qualifying:
• The applicant did not sign the required documents
• Proof of ownership or occupancy was not supplied
• No proof the damaged property was the primary residence at the time of the disaster
• Someone else in the household may have applied and received assistance
You also can take the letter to a disaster recovery center and talk with staff individually. To locate the nearest center, visit FEMA.gov/DRC or call the FEMA helpline.
FEMA can never duplicate insurance benefits or other government sources, but if insurance is not sufficient to cover all the eligible damage, FEMA’s initial determination of ineligibility may change.
Every applicant has the right to file an appeal. The original letter provides an explanation of the steps to appeal FEMA’s decision. Bring the letter to a disaster recovery center for help with the appeals process or call the FEMA helpline.
Appeals must be filed in writing within 60 days of the date of the determination letter. The letter must explain why the initial decision was wrong and provide new or additional information.
Appeals can be mailed to:
FEMA – Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
The FEMA FAQ on “Letters of Eligibility” can be accessed at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/help/faqs