New York, NY -- FEMA damage inspectors have begun visiting homeowners, renters, and business owners who have applied for assistance in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. FEMA generally schedules appointments to inspect damage within seven to 10 days after applications are filed.
"You must apply for disaster assistance before inspectors can look at your damaged property," said Ted Monette, FEMA federal coordinating officer. If you sustained damage and have not yet applied, call the FEMA toll-free registration number, 1-800-462-9029. People who have speech or hearing impairment can call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585.
There is no need to wait for an inspector's visit before beginning cleanup. Clean out dust and debris and, after reporting personal property losses to your insurer, dispose of destroyed items, such as floor coverings, appliances, furniture and clothing. Though not required, photographs of your residence and personal belongings - pre-disaster and/or prior to cleanup - would be helpful, if available.
FEMA inspectors will examine any damages to the residence. An assessment will be made of damage to major appliances, such as the washer, dryer, refrigerator and stove, and serious needs or losses will be identified. Inspectors will ask property owners for identification and for proof of ownership and occupancy and receipts for any repairs or replacements completed since September 11. If available, insurance papers would also be useful in helping to determine eligibility.
Meanwhile, New York state coordinating officer Edward F. Jacoby, Jr. cautions residents and business owners to ask for identification from those identifying themselves as damage inspectors. "All state and federal inspectors carry official photo identification and do not charge for their services," Jacoby said. Representatives from other agencies, such as the U. S. Small Business Administration and the American Red Cross, may be sent to inspect your property. Ask for proper identification from each. And, if you suspect fraud, call the New York Inspector General's Office at the Fraud Hotline at 1-800-323-8603 at once.