What if I do not agree with the amount of money that FEMA is going to give me?
After you file your FEMA application, FEMA will inspect your house or apartment. They will then decide how much money you will receive to repair your home, to obtain temporary housing, or to pay for a disaster-related expense. You may not feel that this money is enough to cover your damages. Sometimes FEMA will find that people are not eligible for any money at all. If you do not agree with FEMA's decision, you have the right to file an appeal.
How do I file an appeal?
You need to write an appeal letter to FEMA. Your appeal letter needs to have the following information:
- A written explanation of why you do not agree with FEMA's decision and why you believe you should receive more financial help.
- If you have any new information, you should make sure that FEMA has it. New information could be pictures of the damages, estimates of how much the repairs would cost, an estimate of how long it may take to make repairs, and receipts for repairs already done.
- Copies of any documents or statements that show or explain why you should receive more financial help.
- You must sign the letter in front of a notary or in place of a notary, you can write the following sentence: "I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct." Then sign the letter.
- You need to include a copy of a government-issued identification card (driver's license, passport).
- You need to write your full name, current address, address of the damaged property, your date of birth, your place of birth, the last four digits of your Social Security number, and your disaster and FEMA application numbers on the front page. All other pages (including statements and receipts) should have your full name, the last four digits of your Social Secuirty number, and your disaster and FEMA application numbers written on them.
- FEMA usually makes their decision based on the written documents.
- You should address your appeal letter to: FEMA Individuals & Households Program.
You should mail your appeal letter to:
FEMA Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055
You should make a copy of the letter for your records. You should send your letter by certified mail and return receipt so that you will have proof that FEMA received it and the date that they received it.
You can also fax your appeal letter to:
Attn: FEMA-Individuals & Households Program
You should keep a copy of the letter and the fax transmittal sheet so that you have proof that FEMA received the fax and the date that they received it.
You can also set up an online account with FEMA and submit your appeal through the online portal. To set up a FEMA online account, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, click on “Apply Online” and follow the directions.
How much time do I have to file an appeal?
You need to postmark and mail your appeal letter or fax your appeal letter within 60 days of the date on your Notice of Decision. The sixty days starts from the date on the notice, not the date you received the letter.
What if I need additional help?
You can call FEMA's Disaster Hotline at: 1-800-621-3362.
- Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans.
- To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:
- call 800-532-1275
- Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161
If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, you can look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website – iowabar.org. A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.