FEMA: Don’t Give Up When Disaster Assistance Request Is Denied

Often, the reason for rejection is an easy fix.

So far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has paid out $70 million to victims of the two big Texas flooding events in April and May.

But it could be even more.

FEMA’s Darrell Habisch said too many people give up after they receive a rejection letter.

“Unfortunately, people are in a very emotional state, of course, after any disaster and they just wad up the letter and throw it away,” he said. “We don’t want that to happen.”

Habisch said they should read the whole letter to understand the reasons for denial and what options they have. It could be such simple things as forgetting to sign the application or provide documentation of damage.

Applicants have 60 days to appeal.

“It’s not a very involved legal process,” he said. “It’s just a process where you have to say, oh, something is missing, so let’s take a look at this.”

Habisch said disaster victims can either call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or go online to take care of it.

People can apply for federal assistance within 60 days after a disaster declaration was issued for their area.

FEMA is also warning residents of scammers.

Habisch said the agency is still doing outreach in areas affected by the May floods in Fort Bend County, for example.

 “Our disaster survivor assistance team members will all have a photo ID,” he said. “They will be wearing FEMA gear. They will never ask for money; they will never ask for anything in return for registering people.”

Habisch said people should call police and notify FEMA when they are approached by scammers.

At least one scam has been reported in the Houston area.



Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters and the Houston Press Club. Florian is a native of Germany. His studies...

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