FEMA decisions can be appealed
Applicants must have registered by July 1 to challenge any rulings
People who have been denied disaster assistance may appeal by filing letters with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Common reasons for denial include inadequate insurance coverage, damage to a secondary home and inability to prove occupancy or ownership.
Those denied housing and other types of assistance under FEMA's Individuals and Households Program have 60 days from the date of the decision to appeal in writing.
Applicants' letters should explain why they think the denial is incorrect and provide specific examples of issues insufficiently addressed in the inspection process.
The applicant or his representative should sign the letter. If the person writing the letter is not a member of the household, there must be a signed statement authorizing the writer to act on behalf of the applicant.
Appeal letters should include the applicant's FEMA registration number and the disaster number. Letters should be postmarked within 60 days of the date on the decision letter. It is also important to date the appeal letter, which should be mailed to FEMA -- Individuals & Households Program; National Processing Service Center; P.O. Box 10055; Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055.
Letters may be faxed to 800-827-8112 to the attention of FEMA -- Individuals & Households Program.
To register or obtain information, residents may call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 for the hearing- or speech-impaired. July 1 is the deadline to apply for disaster assistance for recent flooding and related damage in Hawaii.
Federal financial aid may be provided for losses not covered by insurance, and information from an insurance company can help obtain this aid.
If an applicant is still waiting for an insurance settlement but has received a letter from FEMA stating his claim has been denied because of the insurance settlement, he should request a "delay of settlement" latter from FEMA. A copy of the letter should be mailed to FEMA so the agency is aware the claims process is still ongoing.
If an applicant receives a letter from FEMA stating that a claim has been denied because of insurance coverage, but feels the insurance settlement received is insufficient, the applicant can advise FEMA of the situation. Insurance cases can be appealed up to 12 months from the applicant's registration date.
According to FEMA, it is important to register now. Occasionally the insurance settlement process could take several months before it is final. To be considered for federal assistance, residents must have applied before the July 1, deadline, even if they are not finished with the insurance claims process.