TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) inspectors are in the field visiting homes of FEMA applicants living in the 12 Florida counties eligible for federal disaster assistance.
Homeowners and renters usually receive a call and property damage inspection within days of applying.
Residents of Calhoun, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Lafayette, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Walton and Washington counties whose homes were damaged from severe storms that began on March 26 must first register for FEMA assistance.
Once registered, applicants should follow up with the agency in order to get the assistance they are eligible for.
“Our top priority is to help Floridians recover from these storms quickly,” said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Jeff Bryant. "We’d like to remind residents that inspectors document property damage so applicants can receive the payments they are eligible for as soon as possible, but they do not determine the amount of aid an applicant will receive, nor do they provide estimates on damages."
Eligible applicants may receive federal disaster-assistance grants from FEMA and/or low interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Payments to individuals are made to cover uninsured or underinsured disaster-related expenses like emergency home repairs, temporary housing or assistance towards the replacement of a destroyed home; and for other serious unmet disaster-related expenses.
Information about various disaster-assistance programs can be found online at www.fema.gov.
Understanding the Inspection Process
Before an inspector is assigned, homeowners or renters with disaster-related damage to their homes must register with FEMA. They can register and check the status of an application online at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by calling toll-free 800-621-3362 (FEMA), or (TTY) 800-462-7585 for those with a speech- or hearing-impairment. Representatives are available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Multilingual assistance is available to applicants. Inspectors will usually call within four days to make arrangements to inspect the damaged property.
Damage Inspection is Free
FEMA inspector will contact an applicant by phone to schedule an appointment.
It is critical to update FEMA with current contact information, including a phone number, and accurate directions to the damaged property. If an applicant is unable to return for the mandatory damage inspection, they may authorize an agent to be present.
A street address is required since post office boxes do not show locations.
An inspector will try three times to schedule a damage inspection appointment After that, unnecessary delays may occur.
Owners and renters must show proof of occupancy such as a utility bill or landlord statement.
Owners must also show proof of ownership.
Each inspection generally takes 30 to 40 minutes.
Be Alert for Disaster Fraud
FEMA inspectors carry official photo identification with their name and the words “Under contract to FEMA” printed on it. Residents should ask for this photo identification before allowing an inspector inside their home.
Official inspectors will never ask for money or use a vehicle bearing a FEMA logo.
If money is requested for an inspection or an applicant feels someone is misrepresenting themselves as a FEMA inspector, this should be reported to local police.