If you're a Hurricane Laura victim and were denied assistance from FEMA, we have some insight on how to appeal the decision.

Most of the time, FEMA just needs a document or two before providing you with disaster assistance. I was denied at first, but my wife was able to call the FEMA helpline and send them the needed documents via their website. We were approved a few days later and money was deposited into our bank account within a week's time of applying.

Below are common reasons why people are denied assistance:

  • The person is insured and needs to provide an insurance settlement or denial to be considered for assistance.
  • Additional information is needed from the survivor, e.g. proof of identity, proof of occupancy, annual income, or a childcare assistance letter.
  • There were multiple registrations using the same address.
  • Damage to a secondary residence (where the survivor lives less than six months of the year).
  • The home is safe to occupy and/or personal property had minimum or no damage.
  • Missed inspections and no follow-up communication with FEMA.
  • FEMA is unable to contact the applicant.

Many of these issues can be resolved quickly by going to the drive-thru FEMA Recovery Center in the parking lot of the Calcasieu Parish School Board, located at 3310 Broad Street or by calling the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY) 1-800-462-7585.

Another easy way to get the needed changes and documents to FEMA is to set up an account on their website:

  • Go to https://www.disasterassistance.gov/
  • Select the Create Account button at the bottom of the page and follow instructions.
  • A PIN will be sent to the email address on file. Then log into the account.

If the above steps don't resolve your problem, you have the right to appeal the decision. You will need to mail FEMA a letter explaining in detail why you're filing your appeal.

They will need the your full name, address of pre-disaster residence, current phone number and address, and signature. You must appeal via letter within 60 days of receiving your denial letter.

Be sure to include the statement, “I hereby declare under the penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct” at the end of your appeal letter and sign it below the statement.

Date the appeal letter, include your nine-digit FEMA application number and the disaster code (DR-4559-LA), and mail or fax it to:

FEMA National Processing Service Center
P. O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
Fax: 800-827-8112; Attention: FEMA

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