Determination Letters Must be Read Carefully

This is a joint media release from the State of Colorado and FEMA.

It’s important to carefully read your determination letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There may be an easy-to-resolve reason for being informed that you are ineligible for disaster assistance.

A common reason for initially being ineligible for housing assistance is that an applicant needs to provide FEMA with a copy of an insurance determination letter before a grant application can be processed.

Other reasons for a determination of ineligibility include:

  • The applicant did not sign the required documents.
  • The applicant did not prove occupancy or ownership.
  • The damage is to a secondary home or a rental property, not a primary residence.
  • Someone else in the household has also applied for and received help.
  • A FEMA housing inspector cannot reach the applicant by phone.
  • The applicant did not maintain the required flood insurance coverage for the damaged property.
Applicants who receive a determination of ineligibility letter can call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585 to find out how to appeal this decision, submit any required documents or make changes to contact information.

For those who use 711 Relay or Video Relay Services, call 800-621-3362; the toll-free lines are open 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. (MDT) seven days a week.

An applicant has the right to appeal a determination of ineligibility letter in writing within 60 days from the date shown on the letter.

Guidelines for appeals can be found in the “Help After a Disaster” handbook each applicant receives.

Applicants may also visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), where specialists from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can help with appeals, answer questions, review applications and accept required documents.

A list of open DRCs is available online at:

Those who may not be eligible for FEMA assistance may be eligible for other programs such as an SBA low-interest disaster loan or help from volunteer agencies.

View the media release.