Understanding the FEMA letter for flood survivors

Understanding the FEMA letter for flood survivors

MISSOURI (KFVS) - Some flood victims in southeast Missouri have mistakenly received denial letters for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

According to a spokesperson for the agency, the mix-up is a result of some changes to 911 addresses. Senator Claire McCaskill said that some flood victims listed a Rural Route or P.O. Box on their application for assistance.

"We've got to ensure that Missourians aren't mistakenly denied resources to rebuild after a disaster because they applied for assistance using a P.O Box—something many Missourians in flood-affected areas use," McCaskill said. "I plan to work together with my colleagues and FEMA to make sure everyone is getting the help their families and communities need."

You have until August 2 to apply for individual assistance.

Troy York with FEMA said the absolute best thing flood victims who have received denial letters can do is to visit a disaster recovery center. There are FEMA representatives on hand at those centers to help sort any problems or issues out.

Understanding the FEMA Letter

Here area a few things to keep in mind if you have applied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Survivors who applied will receive a letter in the mail from FEMA. It will explain the status of your application and how to respond. FEMA officials urge you to read the letter carefully.

According to officials, you may need to submit more information for FEMA to continue to process your application.

These are a few examples of missing documentation: an insurance settlement letter, proof of residence, proof of ownership of the damaged property, and proof that the damaged property was their primary residence at the time of the disaster.

If you or others you know have questions about the letter you can contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or online. You can also visit a disaster recovery center.

Disaster recovery centers can be found using the FEMA Helpline, the FEMA app for smart phones or online at www.fema.gov/DRC or https://recovery.mo.gov/.

If survivors feel the amount or type of assistance is incorrect, they may submit an appeal letter and any documents needed to support their claim, such as a contractor's estimate for home repairs.

FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments. However, if survivors are under-insured they can get further assistance for unmet needs after insurance claims have been settled.

How to appeal a FEMA Decision

  • appeals must be filed in writing to FEMA
  • explain why the decision is incorrect
  • submitting the letter

Letters should include:

  • Full name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Address of the damaged dwelling
  • FEMA registration number
  • letters must be notarized
  • letters must be postmarked, received by fax or personally submitted

FEMA officials require the letter to be notarized if you choose this option, as well as a copy of a state-issued identification card or the following statement, "I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct."

The survivor must sign the letter unless someone other than the survivor or the co-applicant is writing the letter.

If another person is writing the letter, there must be a signed statement affirming that the person may act on their behalf. The survivor should keep a copy of the appeal for their records.

Letters must also be postmarked, received by fax, or personally submitted at a disaster recovery center within 60 days of the date on the determination letter.

By mail:

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

By fax:
Attention: FEMA – Individuals & Households Program

If survivors have any questions call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

Those who use 711 or Video Relay Services may call 800-621-3362. Those who use TTY may call 800-462-7585; MO Relay 800-735-2966; CapTel 877-242-2823; Speech to Speech 877-735-7877; VCO 800-735-0135.

Operators will be available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

The federal disaster declaration covers eligible losses caused by flooding and severe storms between April 28 and May 11, 2017 in these counties: Bollinger, Butler, Carter, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Howell, Jasper, Jefferson, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pemiscot, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, St. Louis, Stone, Taney, and Texas.

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