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People who are denied FEMA aid can appeal decision

I filed for help from FEMA, but I got denied. I heard this has happened to other people, too, even though people are being told to apply. What should I do now?

— Anonymous

Jackson County officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are urging people who were impacted by the Almeda and South Obenchain fires to register for possible assistance from FEMA.

That doesn’t mean it has been smooth sailing for everyone who’s tried, but FEMA does have advice for people who received a letter from the federal agency stating they are ineligible for assistance.

Applicants who believe the denial decision is incorrect can appeal with FEMA.

The first step is for applicants to read their determination letter carefully to understand why FEMA decided the applicant was ineligible. In many cases, the problem can be remedied by providing missing documents or other information when sending an appeal letter.

FEMA may find an applicant ineligible if the following documents are missing:

? Insurance documents — Provide copies of documents from your insurance company showing your policy coverage and/or settlement is not enough to make essential home repairs, provide a place to stay or replace certain contents. FEMA won’t duplicate homeowner or renter insurance benefits, but it can help make up shortfalls.

? Proof of occupancy — Provide documentation to prove the damaged house or rental was your primary residence by supplying copies of utility bills, a driver’s license or lease.

? Proof of ownership — Provide copies of mortgage or insurance documents, tax receipts or a deed.

If you lost documents in a fire, learn how to replace missing documents by visiting www.usa.gov/replace-vital-documents.

All appeals must be made in writing.

The appeal letter should explain why the applicant thinks FEMA’s decision is not correct. When filing an appeal, it is important to include any documentation FEMA requests and/or that supports the appeal claim.

Also, if the person writing the appeal letter is not the applicant or a member of the household, applicants must submit a signed statement that the writer is authorized to act on the behalf of the applicant.

When sending an appeal letter, be sure to include a copy of the denial letter you received from FEMA.

The appeal and supporting documents must be postmarked within 60 days of receiving your denial letter from FEMA.

Mail the information to FEMA National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055 Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055, or fax information to 1-800-827-8112.

To set up a FEMA online account or to upload documents online, visit disasterassistance.gov and click on “Check Your Application and Log In” and follow the directions.

People who need help understanding their denial letter can call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362. Help is available in multiple languages.

The TTY number is 1-800-462-7585. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their assigned number for that service. They should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.

Applicants will receive a decision letter within 90 days of FEMA’s receipt of your appeal.

People who haven’t yet applied for FEMA aid can do so at disasterassistance.gov.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.