June 11, 2010
FEMA News Desk: 405-917-3250
OEM PIO Michelann Ooten: 405-521-2481 (office); 405-205-1879 (cell)
APPEALING AN INELIGIBILITY LETTER MAY TURN ‘NO’ TO ‘YES’
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans who have received notice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that they are ineligible for disaster assistance following the May 10-13 tornadoes and storms may be able to use additional documentation to turn that “no” into a “yes.”
“Every applicant has the right to appeal a decision,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gregory W. Eaton. “In fact, applicants can appeal any FEMA decision. When you do so, you are asking us to review your case again, and we will gladly do that.”
Applicants who received a letter stating they are “ineligible” should read that document carefully. It will list some reasons the aid was denied and provide instructions on filing an appeal.
Some common reasons an applicant may be determined ineligible include:
Applicants may appeal the decision if they find circumstances have changed from the time they registered. They may have discovered additional damage to their property, or that they need housing help after all. Renters may find upon returning that their residences are unlivable.
“The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and FEMA understand that circumstances after a disaster can be fluid and changeable,” said State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe. “Oklahomans have the chance to report those changes — changes that could make the difference in becoming eligible for disaster assistance.”
Effective appeal letters should follow these procedures:
Also keep in mind:
One of the best sources of help with an appeal is the network of Disaster Recovery Centers. Applicants can get guidance on the appeal process at any of the three centers currently open in Oklahoma to support those affected by the spring storms. Another option is FEMA’s Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired.
For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, browse the features on this FEMA website at www.fema.gov/Oklahoma or visit the OEM site at www.oem.ok.gov or follow OEM on Twitter at http://twitter.com/okem. Users of smart phones and other mobile devices can visit m.fema.gov.
# # #
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) prepares for, responds to, recovers from and mitigates against emergencies and disasters. The department delivers service to Oklahoma cities, towns and counties through a network of more than 350 local emergency managers.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.