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FEMA Appeals

Authored By: Partnership for Legal Access


Q. What do I do first if FEMA rejects my application for IHP help?

A. Take the following steps if you get a rejection letter from FEMA:

  • Look at the "decision" (rejection) letter you received from FEMA and note the reason that FEMA states for rejecting your application. Look in FEMA's "Help After a Disaster Guide" or other FEMA materials about the terms of the IHP program. If you still think FEMA was wrong and that you are entitled to the benefits, prepare to "appeal," or ask for a second look, of FEMA's decision.
  • Note the date of the "decision" letter from FEMA. Mark this date on your calendar. Your appeal must be postmarked within 60 days of this date. An appeal submitted after this date may be rejected.

Your Legal Right to a Second Look at Your Application

Q. If FEMA rejects my application for help under the Individuals and Household Program (IHP), can I get somebody to consider it again?

A. Yes, you can "appeal" FEMA's decision about:

  • Your eligibility for IHP help;
  • The type of IHP help you requested;
  • Whether you filed your application on time;
  • Whether you have to return IHP money FEMA gave you earlier; or
  • Whether you get continuing IHP help from FEMA.

Appeal Procedures

Q. How do I start an "appeal" of FEMA's decision to reject my application for IHP help?

A. Take the following steps to prepare your "appeal letter":

  • Write it: Explain in writing why you think FEMA's decision was wrong. Attach any additional documents, photos, receipts or other documents that explain why you are entitled to IHP benefits.
  • Sign it: Be sure to sign the letter. If someone represents you or your family, they may sign the letter for you; however, if that person is not a member of your household, that person must also state on the letter that her or she is authorized to sign for you.
  • Date it: Be sure to put the current date on your letter.
  • Number it: Include BOTH of the following numbers on your letter. your FEMA Registration Number and the Disaster Number, both located at the top of the decision letter from FEMA.
  • Copy it: Be sure to keep a copy of your letter for your file.

Q. How do I send the appeal letter to FEMA?

A. You can submit your appeal in two ways:

  • Mail the letter, with the correct amount of postage attached, to:

    FEMA-Individuals and Households Program
    National Processing Service Center
    P.O. Box 10055
    Hyattsville MD 20782-7055

    Fax the letter to: (800) 827-8112
    "Attention: FEMA-Individuals and Household Program"

In either case, make sure that you keep a record or receipt from the Post Office or the fax machine so you can show the date you submitted the appeal. For additional fees, the Post Office also offers certified mail and receipt request services which will permit the Post Office to track your letter to confirm delivery to FEMA.

Q. How do I or somebody from my household get information about the status of the appeal or get information from my file?

A. Send a written request to FEMA at:

FEMA-Records Management
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville MD 20782-7055

Q. Where can I get more information about the appeal process?

A. If you need to follow up:

  • Call FEMA's Disaster Helpline at (800) 621-3362 (or 800-462-7585 if you are hearing impaired or speech impaired).
  • Visit a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) if one is in your area.
  • Write or fax to FEMA at the addresses and numbers above.