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What storm survivors should know about FEMA determination letters

If you were impacted by recent storms and applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance, keep an eye on your mailbox or inbox because you could receive a letter from FEMA very soon.
Posted at 5:09 PM, Feb 02, 2023

If you were impacted by recent storms and applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance, keep an eye on your mailbox or inbox because you could receive a letter from FEMA very soon.

The determination letter will update you on the status of your application and let you know if you were approved for assistance. If so, recipients will get a dollar amount and instructions on how to use that grant.

It may also say you are ineligible for FEMA assistance, but read carefully because that does not mean your application was denied.

“If you receive one of these letters... most will point out to you exactly what further information we may need from you,” explained Renee Bafalis, FEMA Media Relations Specialist. “Perhaps it's just a clarification on some information that you've provided, or maybe it's just some additional information from your insurance company .”

What can you do? You can appeal FEMA’s decision.

You can mail, fax or upload your appeal letter. When you do so, include your nine-digit FEMA application number and your disaster number, which is (DR-4683-CA). Don't forget to submit supporting documents, your signature and the date.

“The date of the letter from that date to 60 days is when you have the right to appeal, and if you want to write an appeal, bring that information into the recovery center. Representatives here will help you go through that process and help you write that appeal,” Bafalis said.

You can also call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

After you submit an appeal, you can expect a decision letter within 90 days.

There are three disaster recovery centers locally with representatives from federal, state and local governments:

  • San Luis Obispo: 801 Grand Ave., 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Santa Maria: 800 S. College Dr., 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Santa Barbara: 6100 Wallace Becknell Rd., 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.