The answer is yes. Applicants for FEMA disaster assistance should not consider the initial determination letter from the agency ruling them ineligible for disaster assistance as the final word. FEMA offers these tips to keep in mind if you receive such a letter:
Applicants must read their letters carefully. The letter may explain any problems that could be corrected. You may need to provide additional information or documents. If a mistake has been made, you should let FEMA know right away by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) or visiting a Disaster Recovery Center.
Everyone has the right to appeal to any FEMA decision.
Appeals may relate to eligibility, the amount or type of help provided, a late application, a request to return the money, or continuing help. If you were determined ineligible due to insurance coverage—but had underinsured or uninsured losses—you can appeal the decision by submitting your insurance settlement paperwork. The appeal must be sent and postmarked within 60 days after you receive the letter.
In your appeal letter, explain why you think the decision about the amount or type of assistance is not correct. You will need to include your full name, the nine-digit FEMA registration number and the four-digit disaster number.
Be sure to sign the letter and include a copy of a state-issued identification card, such as a driver’s license. If you cannot do that, write: “I hereby declare under the penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”
Date the appeal letter and include the FEMA application number and the disaster number (DR-4337) and mail or fax it to:
FEMA National Processing Service CenterP. O. Box 10055Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055FAX: 800-827-8112; Attention: FEMA
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The quickest way to apply for federal assistance is online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
Survivors may also apply by phone at 800-621-3362 (Voice, 711 or VS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). Due to high demand, lines may be busy. Please be patient, and try calling in the morning or evening when call volume may be lower.
You should apply for assistance even if you have insurance because you may discover that you still have unmet needs after you receive your settlement.
If you have not contacted your insurance agent to file a claim, do so right away. Insurance is your main source for money to put your life, home, and business back in order after a disaster.
Insurance may not cover all post-disaster expenses, so disaster programs may be able to help.
Next to insurance, the U.S. Small Business Administration is the survivor’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property.
It is important to complete and submit a low-interest disaster loan application as soon as possible if you receive one. This will ensure that the federal disaster recovery process continues and options are kept open. Even if you do not believe you need a loan, you should complete and submit the application.
If SBA determines you are eligible for a loan, you are under no obligation to accept it. Homeowners and renters who submit an SBA application and are not approved for a loan may be referred to FEMA and considered for other FEMA grants and programs that could include assistance for disaster-related car repairs, household items, and other expenses.
Visit a FEMA disaster recovery center and meet with an SBA representative in person. SBA has staff at all recovery centers to help with applications. You can also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at www.disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
The filing deadline to return physical property damage applications is Nov. 9, 2017. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 11, 2018. Additional information on the disaster loan program may be obtained by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.sba.gov/disaster.