After Idalia: Here’s how to appeal a FEMA decision

No Central Florida counties eligible for Individual Assistance

"Florida Hurricane Idalia DR-4734-FL" (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Florida Division of Emergency Management issued bulletins Saturday with instructions on how to appeal a FEMA decision regarding one’s eligibility for assistance in Hurricane Idalia’s wake.

President Joe Biden has since expanded the Florida Hurricane Idalia federal disaster declaration to include six more counties than he initially approved, with the full list now comprised of Columbia, Gilchrist, Hernando, Jefferson, Madison, Pasco, Citrus, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee and Taylor counties. While these are the only counties in which residents are eligible for Individual Assistance, a much larger chunk of the state — including all Central Florida counties — is potentially eligible for Public Assistance. Note that Public Assistance is meant only to provide “supplemental grants to state, tribal, territorial, and local governments, and certain types of private non-profits so communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies,” according to FEMA.

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If you applied for assistance after Hurricane Idalia and you disagree with FEMA’s decision, here is the appeal process explained. It could just be that FEMA requires more information from you to continue processing an application, according to the bulletins.

You have 60 days from the date on your eligibility letter to appeal.

Submit a letter explaining why you disagree with the decision. In this letter, you must include the following:

  • Applicant’s full name, pre-disaster primary address, current address and current phone number
  • Applicant’s 9-digit FEMA application number, found at the top of the determination letter (on every page)
  • FEMA disaster declaration number DR 4734 (on every page)
  • Applicant’s signature and the date
  • Additional documentation to support your appeal (verifiable contractor’s estimate, insurance paperwork, any additional documents FEMA requested in the eligibility letter)

Those opting to have a third party submit their letter must have said third party sign it, as well. The letter in this case would also have to include a statement, signed by you, which authorizes the third party to appeal on your behalf.

When complete, send the letter by mail to the following address:

FEMA, P. O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055

You may also upload your letter(s) and supporting documentation to your account at There, you’ll want to hover over “Get Assistance” on the home page, click the “Check Status” button in the menu that drops down and follow the instructions.

Faxing your documentation also an option: 800-827-8112 Attn: FEMA.

The FEMA Helpline is available at 800-621-3362.

Otherwise, you can seek help at your nearest Disaster Recovery Center. To find one, visit FEMA’s DRC Locator website, search by state and select Florida.

Keep in mind, too, that the time has long since passed to apply for assistance related to Hurricane Ian.

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.