Bismarck, ND -- Flood-affected individuals who have applied for disaster assistance by calling the FEMA toll-free number at 1-800-462-9029 can expect to be contacted, then visited, by a damage inspector who will verify losses, according to Federal Coordinating Officer Steve Emory.
"The inspections help us establish the nature of the damages experienced by a disaster victim, which in turn allows us to make an eligibility determination and then quickly provide the assistance that is most appropriate to the individual's needs," Emory said.
Individuals can expect one or more different inspectors to visit and assess their damaged property. FEMA housing inspectors will usually schedule appointments within 7-10 days of application, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will send loss verifiers to inspect the damaged property of those who have submitted a completed loan application.
As part of the inspection process, applicants will be asked to verify that they own or occupy the damaged property, and that it is their primary residence. Federal officials stress that under no circumstances will damage inspectors request money or any other form of payment for their work.
"We recommend that applicants request identification from anyone who claims to be a damage inspector or verifier," said Max Terry, SBA officer in charge. "All federal representatives carry official photo identification, and if an inspector or verifier is not wearing an identification badge, ask to see it."
Affected North Dakota residents within the 18 declared counties and two Indian reservations who have not registered with FEMA for assistance are encouraged to do so. The toll-free telephone number 1-800-462-9029 (TTY 1-800-462-7585) - is in operation from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, until further notice.
According to Emory, the registration process is simple and easy. The initial phone call should not last longer than 20 minutes, and disaster victims should be prepared to supply the following information: insurance coverage, if any; address and telephone number for the damaged residence; directions to the damaged residence; contact number; and a general description of damages and needs.