FEMA cannot pay for damage covered by insurance or duplicate benefits from another source.
FEMA grants are meant for costs to return your home to a safe, sanitary and functional. This means your home is habitable. Damage to non-essential space or property is not eligible under FEMA programs. If you have questions about the type of damage eligible under FEMA programs, you can call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service can call 800-621-3362.
7 Common reasons for FEMA Wildfire Disaster Assistance Ineligibility
- You are insured. Contact FEMA if your insurance settlement is insufficient to meet your disaster-related needs or if you have exhausted the Additional Living Expenses provided by your insurance company.
- Your insurance company denies your claim. You must provide documentation that identifies the denial or exclusions of your insurance settlement before FEMA will consider your assistance eligibility.
- You reported no home damage when you registered with FEMA. If you reported your home had no damage but later discover it’s not habitable anymore, contact FEMA to let them know. It helps to get documentation to support your appeal such as a letter from contractor or local official that says the home is not safe to live in. They should also include the estimated cost needed to repair the home.
- Home is safe to occupy. FEMA housing assistance typically only covers costs to make your home habitable. Damage to non-essential space, landscaping or spoiled food is usually not covered by FEMA grants.
- Proof of occupancy. When FEMA is unable to verify occupancy of your primary residence, you may provide FEMA with documentation, such as utility bills, a bank or credit card statement, phone bill, pay stubs, a driver’s license, state-issued ID card or voter registration card showing the damaged dwelling’s address.
- FEMA could not verify your identity. FEMA must be able to verify your identity with a valid Social Security number. By verifying identity, FEMA prevents fraud and ensures you receive eligible disaster assistance. To verify identity, you may provide FEMA with documents, such as a copy of your Social Security card if accompanied by federal or state-issued identification, a U.S. passport, military identification or certain documentation from the Social Security Administration.
- No initial rental assistance. You indicated to the inspector that you were not willing to move while your damaged home was being repaired. This made you ineligible for FEMA temporary rental assistance. However, you may have since found further damage to your home that may require you to move. Since your housing needs have changed, contact FEMA as soon as possible to update your housing status and explain why you have a need to relocate.