Is your FEMA Award Too Low to Make Your Hurricane Ida Home Repairs?

Posted on: June 8, 2022
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 What limits what you can get from FEMA for home repairs? 

Three things limit what FEMA can give you for home repairs.

First, FEMA only tries to get homes back to a “safe, sanitary, and functional condition.” There is more to a home than being safe, sanitary, and functional. But FEMA does not pay for the rest of what makes a home comfortable to us.

Second, FEMA can only pay up to $36,000.00 for home repairs.  This limit was for Hurricane Ida; the amount changes yearly.

Third, mistakes limit what FEMA pays. Somebody along the way does not count some of the repairs needed. Or they don’t realize how much the repair costs. These mistakes can be corrected by filing an appeal.

Who can appeal a FEMA home repair award?

You can appeal if-

  • FEMA awarded home repair aid but you disagree with the amount FEMA will pay.
  • FEMA awarded home repair aid, then you appealed, and your amount is still low.
  • You disagree with FEMA’s decision to deny aid after you appealed your FEMA Home Repair assistance claim.

What are the steps to appeal my FEMA home Repair Award?

  1.  Write an appeal letter explaining why you disagree with FEMA’s decision.
  2. Your appeal letter must include:
    • Your name, current address, phone number
    • Pre-disaster primary residence
    • Registration ID and disaster number (Hurricane IDA =4611)
    • Place and Date of Birth
    • Last 4 of your SSN
  1. Your letter must be either notarized (including a State ID), or it must include the statement:

       “I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”

  1.  You must sign and date your letter.
  2.  Attach your photographs.

      You should save your photographs in a  black and white format to send  them to FEMA. Make sure the photos are clear.  FEMA only keeps photos in black and white format.

  1. Attach a Contractor Estimate.

 It’s not required, but it’s recommended that you send 2-3 contractor estimates. FEMA needs documents that show them what they did was wrong. Your description of damage and even photographs do not tell them how much money you need for the repairs. An estimate tells them how much money you need.

Your contractor estimate should have the following:

    • The estimate should be on the contractor’s letterhead
    • The contractor should sign the estimate
    • The estimate should include the contractor’s name, phone number, and address
    • The estimate should detail how the damages are related to the federal disaster
    • The estimate should have a line-by-line break down of damages and costs
    • The estimate should include the homeowner’s name

As part of your appeal, you can also write to FEMA requesting a second inspection.

You can request a second inspection in your appeal letter if -

  • FEMA’s award missed damage inside your home or
  • A FEMA inspector did not say you could show them pictures or video on your phone

Is there a deadline to submit my appeal?

Yes, there is a deadline for sending in an appeal.

You have 60 days from the date on your FEMA determination letter to either mail, fax or upload your appeal letter and supporting documents.

But if you missed your 60-day deadline, late appeals may be accepted by FEMA if you show a “good cause.”

Your appeal and supporting documentation can be either mailed, faxed, or uploaded to your FEMA online account using the information below.

  • Mail: FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055
  • Fax: 800-827-8112, Attention: FEMA
  • FEMA online Account: If your FEMA online account at DisasterAssistance.gov has been created, you can upload documents through the Upload Center. However, if not created, to set up a FEMA online account or to upload documents online, visit DisasterAssistance.gov.

Do you need help appealing your home repair award?

This can all be complicated. Someone experienced in dealing with FEMA can help you know what else is needed for your appeal.

You may qualify for free legal aid from SLLS.

See if you qualify for free legal aid from SLLS, call our Disaster Legal Services Hotline at: 1-800-310-7029, or apply online at our website www.slls.org, by clicking here.

What if my home repairs cost more than FEMA provided?

If your home repairs cost more than FEMA’s  limit, you may be able to apply for other help.

A new program will soon help people rebuild from Ida. It will be called Restore Louisiana.

This other program might require that homeowners have at least one of the following to get more help:

A FEMA award for home repairs of at least $8,000.00,

OR FEMA Award for personal property of at least $3,500.00,

OR, flooding over one foot.

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