Information via FEMA.com
It is not uncommon for survivors to appeal FEMA’s decisions regarding assistance after a disaster. For those who disagree with FEMA’s findings, there is an appeal process. Here are some frequently asked questions about that process.
Appealing a FEMA Decision
Everyone has the right to appeal a FEMA decision. An appeal must be filed in the form of a signed letter, by the applicant, within 60 days of the date on the decision letter. In the appeal, explain why you disagree with the decision. Include any requested information and supporting documentation.
Be sure to include the following:
- Applicant’s full name, current address and phone number
- Address of the applicant’s pre-disaster primary residence
- Applicant’s signature and the date
- Applicant’s registration number (on every page)
- FEMA disaster declaration number: DR – 4601
If the person writing the appeal letter is not the applicant or a member of the applicant’s household, a statement must be included granting the writer authorization to act on your behalf.
Appeal letters and supporting documentation can be uploaded quickly to your account on DisasterAssistance.gov or faxed to 800-827-8112. Please ensure all faxes include the cover sheet provided with your FEMA decision letter.
Appeals Process Q&A
What does it mean when FEMA says I can appeal?
When FEMA says you can appeal, it means if you feel the amount of assistance received is not enough to help you recover, you can appeal that determination. Survivors must submit an appeal letter within 60 days of the date on the letter.
How do I appeal?
First, read your determination letter carefully. You could have been found ineligible due to missing documents. If, after complying with all FEMA requests you still disagree with the findings, you can appeal. To appeal, you need to write a letter explaining the reason for your appeal. You need to make sure you sign the letter and include your full name, your FEMA registration number and the disaster number, and make sure to provide backup documentation for the appeal.
What do I need to appeal?
Along with your appeal letter, you need to provide supporting documentation which can include things such as contractor estimates, any receipts or an insurance denial or settlement letter.
What are the ways I can submit my appeal?
There are three different ways you can submit your appeal. You can fax it to 800-827-8112. You can also mail it to FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055, or you can go to your disasterassistance.gov account and submit your documents.
What are the top 4 things survivors appeal?
The most common things FEMA sees people appealing for are home repairs, rental assistance, personal property, and ownership/occupancy.
What if I have more than one appeal?
FEMA offers multiple types of assistance which can lead to more than one appeal.
Who can help me with the appeals process?
Anybody can help you write an appeal. You can call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or Disaster Legal Services can help as well. Call 800-310-7029.
What happens if I missed the 60-day window to appeal?
Even if you miss the 60-day window you can still appeal; however, you will need to explain why the appeal letter is late.
How common is it to have to appeal?
It’s not uncommon for survivors to appeal. It’s an opportunity for survivors to include additional documentation to support their request.
How long does it take for an appeal to go through?
It can take up to 90 days for FEMA to make a decision, which is why it’s important to include all required documents with your initial appeal.
How do I know if my appeal was approved or denied?
FEMA will send you your decision letter by either mail or email. You can also go to your disasterassistance.gov online account to check the status of your application.
Can I appeal again if I have more information?
You can appeal the decision of your original appeal if you have new or additional information that was not submitted in the initial request.