What to Expect During the FEMA Housing Inspection Process
This was originally posted on Blog.FEMA.gov. You can find it here.
So far, more than 444,100 Hurricane Sandy survivors from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island have applied for federal disaster assistance and more than $782 million in assistance has been approved. As Sandy survivors continue to apply for assistance, many may find themselves asking what’s next after registering with FEMA. Often times, a housing inspection is needed to verify and assess damage claims made during registration, which is normal after any disaster.
After you register, one of the more than 2,000 FEMA Housing Inspectors on the ground will contact you to schedule an appointment to come see the damaged property if it is accessible. The inspection generally takes 30-40 minutes but can be shorter, and consists of a general inspection of damaged areas of your home and a review of your records. This is important: there is no fee for the inspection.
When a FEMA housing inspector comes to visit your home, be sure they show you proper identification. If they do not show you photo identification, then do not proceed with the inspection. Unfortunately, disasters often bring out criminals who prey on the needs of disaster survivors – so beware of scams and scam artists.
It’s important to note that throughout the recovery process, applicants may receive a visit from more than one inspector. In addition to FEMA housing inspectors, representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), as well as state and local officials could also visit neighborhoods in affected areas, so don’t be alarmed if you receive a visit from more than one inspector.
If you suspect someone of posing as a FEMA inspector, call our toll-free Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, or your local law enforcement officials.
When a FEMA Housing Inspector visits your home, someone 18 years of age or older who lived in the household prior to the disaster must be present for the scheduled appointment. The inspector will ask to see:
- Photo Identification.
- Proof of Ownership/Occupancy of damaged residence (Structural Insurance, Tax Bill, Mortgage Payment Book/Utility Bill).
- Insurance documents: Home and/or Auto (Structural Insurance/Auto Declaration Sheet).
- List of household occupants living in residence at time of disaster.
- All disaster related damages to both real and personal property.
Once the inspection process is complete, your case will be reviewed by FEMA and you will receive a letter, or email if you signed up for E-Correspondence, outlining the decision:
- If you qualify for a FEMA grant, FEMA will send you a check by mail or deposit it directly into your bank account. You will also receive a letter describing how you are to use the money. You should only use the money given to you as explained in the letter and save receipts on how you spent the money.
- If you do not qualify for a FEMA grant, you will receive a letter explaining why you were turned down and will be given a chance to appeal the decision. Your appeal rights will be described in this letter. Appeals must be in writing and mailed within 60 days of FEMA’s decision.
- If you’re referred to the Small Business Administration, you will receive a SBA application. The application must be completed and returned in order to be considered for a loan as well as certain types of grant assistance. SBA representatives are available to help you with the application at local Disaster Recovery Centers. Completing and returning the loan application does not mean that you must accept the loan.
Again, the first step in receiving assistance is registering for assistance with FEMA. So if you’re a Hurricane Sandy survivor and you haven’t registered yet, we encourage you to take advantage of our many ways to register for assistance:
- Over the phone by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
- Online at www.disasterassistance.gov
- On your mobile device at m.fema.gov
- Or by visiting a disaster recovery center
If you’re a disaster survivor or know someone affected by Hurricane Sandy, please share this information with them.
For Hurricane Sandy recovery updates, visit www.fema.gov/sandy and follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @FEMASandy & www.facebook.com/FEMASandy