If you or someone you know has applied or is thinking of applying for federal disaster assistance, this may be of interest. Also note that the deadline for applying for assistance in Hays County is July 28, 2015.
Letter on Eligibility May Not Be Last Word on Disaster Assistance
for Texans Affected by Storms, Floods
AUSTIN, Texas – A letter stating a household is ineligible for disaster assistance may not be the
final word on a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) application.
The most common reasons for receiving a determination of ineligibility are:
Adequate insurance coverage.
Insufficient storm-related damage.
Missing documentation needed to complete the assistance evaluation process.
Examples of missing documentation may include an insurance settlement letter, proof of
residence, proof of ownership of the damaged property, and proof that the damaged property was
the applicant’s primary residence at the time of the disaster. If instructed and needed, applicants
can simply submit missing documentation to FEMA online, by mail or fax, or by visiting a
Disaster Recovery Center.
“We want to ensure everyone eligible for disaster assistance receives as much help as possible,”
said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes. Disaster assistance for homeowners and
renters may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, essential home repairs or other
serious disaster-related needs. “But remember – grants only cover uninsured or under-insured
If you receive a letter of ineligibility, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362), or
(TTY) 800-462-7585 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) to check the status of your application,
update your contact numbers or ask any questions. Users of 711 or Video Relay Services should
Applicants ineligible for FEMA grants may still be eligible for other programs, such as disaster
unemployment assistance. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business
Administration (SBA) are also available for businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit
organizations, homeowners and renters to pay for repair or replacement costs not covered by
insurance or other sources.
Residents and business owners may automatically be referred to the SBA for possible lowinterest
disaster recovery loans that cover these losses not fully compensated by insurance or
other resources and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
You should not wait for your insurance settlement to begin an application for a low-interest
disaster from SBA. In disaster recovery, SBA’s low-interest loans may be the primary source of
the federal funds for the long-term repair and replacement of disaster-damaged private property
for business of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters.
If an applicant has insurance, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments. However, underinsured
applicants may receive further assistance for unmet needs after insurance claims have
“If you are unable to live in your home due to disaster damage and your insurance policy does
not cover temporary rental assistance, you may be eligible for rental assistance from FEMA,”
said Hannes. “If you suffered damage and you’re still waiting for an insurance settlement
payment, you may be eligible for an advance from FEMA.”
When requesting an increase in a FEMA grant award for home repairs, applicants should submit
repair estimates, receipts or invoices to wage an effective appeal.
Applicants may appeal any FEMA decision. By doing so, they are asking FEMA to review their
case again. “For instance, if you discover you need more disaster-related home repairs than first
projected, you can appeal the initial determination,” said Hannes.
All appeals must be filed in writing to FEMA. Applicants should explain why they think the
decision is not correct (and attaching contractor’s estimates might be beneficial as well). To ensure accuracy and help FEMA personnel process your appeal
quickly, please include the following information in your letter of appeal:
Your full name
The address of your damaged property
Current contact information
Disaster number: DR-4223-TX
Last four digits of your Social Security number
Your birthdate and place of birth
Your 9-digit FEMA registration number on each page and on supporting documentation
Your letter must be either notarized, include a copy of a state issued identification card,
or include the following statement, “I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the
foregoing is true and correct.”
You must sign the letter
If someone other than you or the co-applicant is writing the letter, there must be a signed
statement from you affirming that the person may act on your behalf. You should keep a copy of
your appeal for your records.
To file an appeal, letters must be postmarked, received by fax, or personally submitted at a
Disaster Recovery Center within 60 days of the date on the determination letter.
FEMA – Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
Attention: FEMA – Individuals & Households Program
Applicants may check the status of their applications or update their contact information online
at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or
(TTY) 800-462-7585. The toll-free phone lines remain open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time),
seven days a week until further notice.
More information on filing an appeal can be found online at www.disasterassistance.gov or in
the Help After a Disaster that FEMA mails to each applicant.