TIPS: Helpful info when appealing a FEMA decision

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(Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- Many Hurricane Ida survivors applied for FEMA assistance and received denial letters. Often the denial letters are sent when your application is missing information, like not showing proof of who you are, or if you own your home.

Here are some tips, provided by FEMA, for writing your appeal letter:

You have 60 days to send FEMA your appeal

  • Count 60 days from the date that FEMA has on your determination letter. Keep in mind that after FEMA receives your letter, you may receive a phone call or a follow-up letter asking for more information.

Carefully read FEMA’s letter before writing your appeal

  • Get a better understanding why FEMA says your application is “ineligible” or that assistance for you was denied. Often the denial is because of missing information. Understand what the agency is asking you to do or submit before writing your appeal.

Include evidence to support your appeal request

  • You need evidence to support what you are claiming in your appeal letter. It is important to include the documents or information FEMA requests. Here is what to include in your letter:

-A copy of the FEMA letter saying you’re denied assistance, or that the agency didn’t reach a decision.

-Insurance letters: Your insurance company might give you just a fraction of what you need to repair your home, not enough to help you get into another place, or not enough to replace certain belongings. Keep in mind that FEMA cannot give you a grant for something your insurance company already paid for.

-Proof of occupancy: A copy of a utility bill, a driver’s license, a lease or bank statement, a local school document, motor vehicle registration, or an employer’s letter. All can be used to prove the damaged home or rental was your primary residence. Primary meaning you lived there during the major part of the year.

-Proof of ownership: Mortgage or insurance documents, tax receipts or a deeds. If your documents were destroyed, visit for information on how to replace them.

Mail, Fax or Upload Your Appeal Letter, Don’t Forget to Sign and Date It

▪ You have 60 days from the date on your FEMA determination letter to mail, fax or upload your appeal if you want FEMA to reconsider their first decision. Sign and date your appeal. And don’t forget to include your nine-digit FEMA application number, your disaster number (DR-4611-LA), and documents you can show as proof.
-Mail: FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055
-Fax: 800-827-8112, Attention: FEMA
-To set up a FEMA online account or to upload documents online, go to, click on “Check Status” and follow the directions

What You Can Expect After Submitting Your Appeal Letter
You’ve written your appeal and sent it to FEMA within 60 days after you received their determination letter. Now what? You may receive a call or letter from FEMA asking for more information. Or FEMA may schedule another inspection of your primary home. Whichever the case, once you’ve sent FEMA an appeal, you can expect a decision letter within 90 days after FEMA receives it.

▪ The deadline to apply for FEMA disaster assistance is Thursday, Oct. 28.
▪ For any questions, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) The lines are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. If you use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel, give FEMA your specific phone number assigned to that service. Operators can also connect you to a specialist who speaks your language.

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