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FEMA Ineligibility Letter Not Necessarily "No"

Photo by KUT News
FEMA encourages survivors of Texas wildfires to make an appeal, if they're told they are ineligible for relief.

FEMA is trying to get the word out to Texas wildfire victims that, if they get a letter saying they're ineligible for federal aid, it's may not be the final word.

Ericka Lopez is a FEMA Public Information Officer in Bastrop. She says people can submit a formal appeal within 60 days, if they believe the feds made error.

"After registration, applicants are provided with a status of their eligibility. There may be ineligibility letters that come out, but of course it does not mean the applicant is ineligible for assistance. It just means maybe we have not received insurance information, correct contact information, or there is a lack of additional personal or insurance information that we may need. So it may be as simple as updating information with our registration process for you to change that ineligibility letter to an eligibility letter," states Lopez.

She says that cases FEMA can rule ineligibility for several reasons, like insufficient fire-related damage, insurance that adequately covers the loss or not being willing to relocate. Incorrect or missing contact or insurance information can also get an application rejected.

Ineligibility may be due to insufficient fire-related damage, adequate insurance coverage, a desire not to relocate, incorrect or missing contact information, or additional personal or insurance information is needed to complete the assistance evaluation process. All appeals must be postmarked, received by fax or personally submitted at a Disaster Recovery Center within 60 days of the date on the initial decision letter.