General Rules for filing FEMA Claims & Appeals

by Cucci Law Group on Oct. 20, 2017

Accident & Injury Toxic Mold & Tort Government  Government Agencies Real Estate  Real Estate Other 

Summary: General Article that explains the basics of filing and appealing a FEMA claim from a hurricane or other disaster.


FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency                  By: John Cucci

The deadline for filing a FEMA Claim with the Federal Government is sixty (60) days from the event that has harmed you or your property.

FEMA claims may only be made for property within a designated area by FEMA. An example would be Harris County, Texas. Most designations are by county or by other definite geographic area like a city or township. You must check whether or not your property is within the “designated area.” You can learn this by calling 1-800-621-3362. Or going to the FEMA website

There is a 60 day time limit to file your FEMA Claim. It is a simple process to make the initial claim. You simple go to the FEMA website or call the number above. Once you make first contact, FEMA will issue you a Claim Number. Once you have the claim number you have a FEMA case.

After you make your initial claim, an investigator will be assigned to visit your home or apartment. It is always best to be at the home for the inspection. The investigator will want to see the damage and the appliances and furniture, automobiles, and other items. It is best NOT to throw the damaged items out until the inspector arrives.

After the inspector has submitted his report to FEMA, you will get a check or a denial within 3-4 weeks. Home owners have different claims than renters or tenants.

Home owners are supposed to be given up to $33,000.00 for the repairs and other work needed to make the house livable or “habitable.” This is different than getting all of the damaged items replaced.  The same goes for the appliances, vehicles, and furniture. FEMA is not going to “replace” what you lost. FEMA will pay to assure you can live safely and in a sanitary home.

Renters/Tenants can make FEMA claims but your lost or damaged items will not be replaced. FEMA will only pay for you to live in a safe environment. The main benefit for Tenants and renters is to be placed in a hotel or motel. If you rent space for a business, FEMA will help you get your business placed in a safe yet temporary place.

Time Limits: There is a 60 day time limit to file or establish your FEMA claim.

If your claim is rejected or you do not get the amount of benefits you feel you deserve, you can file an appeal with FEMA. You have 60 days from the rejection or receipt of funds, to file an Appeal with FEMA.

If you are out-of-town, disabled, or have another reasonable excuse for filing late, you can request an extension of time of up to sixty (60) extra days.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or do not feel like FEMA is being fair, you can hire a lawyer to help you at every step in the process.

If you want more information you can call my office. The telephone call is free. I do provide free or reduced fees for Veterans and people over 70 years old.

JOHN CUCCI OF Cucci Law Group              Houston, Texas                 281-667-9288 or 631-339-6228

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