FEMA urges flood victims to read denial letters carefully

FEMA urges flood victims to read denial letters carefully

If you have been denied by FEMA, you need to read your letter carefully.

"Some applicants are only missing a portion of the necessary information to continue the process," said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. "There may be an easy fix if someone did not sign a document or if your application is missing a necessary insurance form. Don't give up on the process. Follow up with FEMA and file an appeal."

Here are recommendations from FEMA for those who receive a denial letter:

If you disagree with the decision letter you received, you can follow the below guidance to appeal the decision. Mail or fax your appeal within 60 days of the decision letter date, or drop it off at one of the Disaster Recovery Center.

Read the letter carefully to find out why the decision was made.

Do you need to provide additional information?

  • Insurance determination letter.
  • Proof of occupancy or ownership.
  • Proof of ID.
  • Applicant’s signature.

Common reasons for the initial decision:

  • The damage was to a secondary home or a rental property, not a primary residence.
  • Someone else in the household applied and received assistance.
  • Disaster-related losses could not be verified.
  • Insurance covered all losses.

Contact FEMA for help with filing an appeal or any questions.


  • 800-621-3362 (711 or Video Relay Service available)
  • 800-462-7585 (TTY)

File a written appeal.

  • Explain why you think the decision was not correct.
  • Provide supporting information and documents.
  • Include your FEMA registration number on all documents.
  • Sign the letter.

Understanding Your FEMA Determination Letter

Q: My FEMA determination letter says that my application for disaster assistance is "ineligible" or "incomplete." What can I do?

A: All disaster assistance applicants have the right to appeal, and sometimes a quick fix is all that is needed to change a "no" to a "yes." Read your letter all the way through to clarify why your application was labeled "ineligible" or "incomplete." Always be sure to follow up—do not just give up—with the determination letter.

Q: I want to appeal my determination letter. How can I go about doing that?

A: All appeals must be in writing. When writing your appeal, explain why you think the decision about the amount or type of assistance you received is not correct. You, or someone who represents you or your household, must sign the letter. If the person writing the letter is not a member of your household, there must be a signed statement from you saying that that person may act for you and your household.

Q: What do I do with my written appeal and my other appeal documents?

A: Bring your determination letter, your written appeal and the supporting documents requested in your determination letter to any disaster recovery center. You can locate a disaster recovery center near you by visiting fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers, calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362, or downloading the FEMA mobile app.

Q: I cannot make it to a disaster recovery center. Can I still appeal my determination letter?

A: Yes. You can mail your written appeal and all supporting documents to:

FEMA – Individuals and Households Program

National Processing Service Center

P.O. Box 10055

Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

You can also fax your appeal packet to 800-827-8112, to the attention of the Individuals and Households Program. When mailing or faxing your appeal packet, be sure to include your personal FEMA registration number and the disaster number, DR-4277-LA, on all of your documents.

Q: Can I email my appeal packet to FEMA?

A: No. FEMA cannot process your appeal via email, but you can submit it on our website. If you would like to go through the appeal process electronically, you can open a Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) account at www.disasterassistance.gov. Once you have created your account, you can update your current contact information, upload your appeal documents, and review letters from FEMA. When you upload the required documents to your DAC account, an appeal packet is automatically created which can then be submitted for review.