FEMA representatives urge people not to give up after being denied disaster aid

What to do if your FEMA claim is denied
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:39 PM EDT
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MONTICELLO, Fla. (WCTV) - As communities continue recovering from the effects of Hurricane Idalia, many are looking to FEMA for help.

A new FEMA disaster recovery center opened Tuesday in Monticello to serve Jefferson County residents. It’s one of several throughout Florida where residents can get help applying for FEMA disaster assistance.

WCTV caught up with one woman, Essie Norton, who traveled to Madison before the Monticello location opened to start her application process.

It is Norton’s first time applying for FEMA aid. She said she hopes to get help fixing a screen that was damaged by a fallen tree, as well as reimbursement for gas she used to run a generator during the days she didn’t have power. She said the process so far has been smooth.

“It actually was a great experience,” Norton said.

But completing the application is just the first step.

FEMA media representative Troy York told WCTV that some people may need to appeal if FEMA initially determines they aren’t eligible for aid. If this is the case, you’ll get a letter from FEMA explaining that. York said if you get that letter, that doesn’t mean you should give up.

“We encourage them read the whole letter,” York said. “Because in the body of the letter it does say what the reason was and offers you an opportunity to correct that reason.”

He encouraged anyone who is confused about the appeal process to go to your local disaster recovery center, where specialists can walk you through the process. You can find your nearest disaster recovery center here.

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