What to do if you disagree with FEMA’s decision letter

If Lake and Calaveras County residents receive a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency saying they are not eligible for disaster assistance, it is important that they read the letter carefully and then contact FEMA if they have questions or need assistance making an appeal.

The appeal must be postmarked within 60 days of the date on the FEMA letter, not the date received. FEMA will help survivors make an appeal.

Survivors can call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. For 711 or video relay service, call 800-621-3362. They can also visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). To locate the nearest center, call FEMA or go online to FEMA.gov/DRC.

A direct telephone hotline is operational to process any requests from survivors who may need additional assistance: 916-381-0330; for TTY, call 711.

The FEMA letter will explain the reason an applicant was determined to be ineligible and what additional information he or she needs to provide or how FEMA’s decision can be appealed.

Some of the reasons for an initial turn down can be easily remedied with more information such as:

  • Calling or writing to FEMA when a final insurance settlement is agreed upon.
  • Providing proof of ownership or residence, especially documents showing the damaged property was the primary residence at the time of the disaster.
  • Returning a completed U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loan application.
  • Signing essential documents.

Survivors can ask for a review of the amount or type of help provided or any other decision about federal disaster assistance if they appeal the agency’s decision within 60 days of the date on the FEMA letter. Many issues can be resolved if applicants follow up with updated information or documentation.

When appealing a decision, applicants should explain in writing why they disagree with a decision along with any new or additional documents supporting the appeal.

Appeal letters should include:

  • Federal disaster declaration number ‘DR-4240-CA’ on all pages of documents.
  • Applicant information, including:
    • Nine-digit FEMA application number on all pages of documents
    • Name
    • Date and place of birth
    • Address of the damaged dwelling
  • Copies of verifiable documentation supporting the appeal. All receipts, bills and estimates must include contact information for the service provider. Applicants should keep all originals for their records.
  • Copy of a driver license or state-issued identification card showing the residence address is the same as the damaged property.
  • If a driver’s license or state-issued identification card is not available, an alternative is to have the appeal letter notarized with the following statement included: “I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”
  • The applicant’s signature.

Mail the appeal letter to:

National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD  20782-7055

Applicants may fax the appeal letter to:
Attention: FEMA

It is important to have appeal letters postmarked within 60 days of the date on the decision letter.

Call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. For 711 or video relay service, call 800-621-3362. For more information go to FEMA.gov/Help-After-Disaster. Even easier is visiting one of the three FEMA disaster recovery centers (DRC).

All three Disaster Recovery Centers will be open on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, with normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To locate the nearest DRC, go to FEMA.gov/DRC.

Survivors can apply for FEMA assistance online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362; TTY 800-462-7585; 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362. Registration continues through Monday, Nov. 23.


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