FEMA: Read denial letters carefully


BATON ROUGE (WGNO) – If your home took in water during the recent historic floods and FEMA has told you you’re ineligible for help, make sure you read the letter all the way to the end.

So far, FEMA has approved more than $315 million for home repairs, temporary housing and other needs assistance, and officials say the denial letters could be issued because the applicant is missing a very small piece of needed information.

“Some applicants are only missing a portion of the necessary information to continue the process,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. “There may be an easy fix if someone did not sign a document or if your application is missing a necessary insurance form. Don’t give up on the process. Follow up with FEMA and file an appeal.”

Here are recommendations from FEMA for those who receive a denial letter:

If you disagree with the decision letter you received, you can follow the below guidance to appeal the decision.

Read the letter carefully to find out why the decision was made.

 Do you need to provide additional information?

  • Insurance determination letter.
  • Proof of occupancy or ownership.
  • Proof of ID.
  • Applicant’s signature.

Common reasons for the initial decision:

  • The damage was to a secondary home or a rental property, not a primary residence.
  • Someone else in the household applied and received assistance.
  • Disaster-related losses could not be verified.
  • Insurance covered all losses.

Contact FEMA for help with filing an appeal or any questions.


  • 800-621-3362 (711 or Video Relay Service available)
  • 800-462-7585 (TTY)

File a written appeal.

 Explain why you think the decision was not correct.

  • Provide supporting information and documents.
  • Include your FEMA registration number on all documents.
  • Sign the letter.

Mail or fax your appeal within 60 days of the decision letter date, or drop it off at one of the Disaster Recovery Center.