FEMA provides information on appeal process for disaster assistance
Residents who receive a letter from FEMA indicating ineligibility are advised that the determination may be due to a need for additional information, and those who disagree with FEMA’s decision about their application have the right to appeal.
FEMA provides financial assistance to eligible individuals and households with uninsured or underinsured disaster-related expenses. By law, FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program cannot provide funding when any other source – insurance, crowdfunding or financial assistance from voluntary agencies – has covered expenses for the same disaster-related need.
If insurance coverage falls short in covering all losses or experiences a delay in settlement, eligibility for assistance may be an option.
In cases where eligibility for assistance is denied, FEMA will issue a letter providing an explanation for the disqualification, granting an opportunity to appeal the decision.
The Appeal Process
- An appeal is a written request to FEMA to review the application. It is also an opportunity to provide new or additional information not previously submitted that may affect FEMA’s decision. Applicants may appeal any FEMA decision about their application for Individual Assistance. For example, they may appeal their initial eligibility decision, the amount or type of assistance FEMA provided, late applications, requests to return money, or a denial of Continued Temporary Housing Assistance.
- An appeal should be submitted to FEMA within 60 days of the date on the determination letter. In the applicantʻs dated and signed appeal letter, they should explain why they disagree with the decision. Be sure to include the following:
- Applicant’s full name, current address and damaged dwelling address
- On every page, include the applicant’s nine-digit FEMA application number (found at the top of the determination letter)
- FEMA’s disaster declaration number for Hawaiʻi: DR-4724-HI
- Applicant’s signature and the date
- To appoint a representative to submit an appeal, the appeal letter must have the signature of the appointed individual. Additionally, it is necessary to provide a signed statement granting authorization for this individual to submit the appeal.
- Mail appeal letter to:
FEMA Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055
- Appeal letters and supporting documentation also can be uploaded to the applicantʻs account on DisasterAssistance.gov or faxed to 800-827-8112.
Individuals who receive a FEMA letter without applying for assistance should contact the Disaster Assistance Helpline at 800-621-3362. For those utilizing relay services, such as Video Relay Service or captioned telephone service, it is important to provide FEMA with the specific number for these services during the call. The Helpline offers multilingual support and operates from 1 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For service in Spanish, callers should press 2, and for an interpreter in other languages, press 3.
Suspicions of fraudulent activity should be reported immediately to the Maui Police Department at 808-244-6400. Consumers may also file a fraud complaint with the Hawaiʻi Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs at 808-587-4272 (Option 7).
Disaster assistance information and downloadable applications are also available at sba.gov/hawaii-wildfires.