Nashville, TN -- Tennesseans who have registered for federal and state disaster assistance can expect to have their damaged property inspected to verify losses, Michael Bolch, head of recovery operations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said today.
"The inspectors size up the amount of damage experienced by an applicant and help determine their eligibility for aid. This allows us to serve them in the quickest and most efficient way possible," said Bolch. To date, 1,327 inspections have been completed in the 20 counties declared for individual assistance.
FEMA housing inspectors will usually schedule appointments 7-10 days following an application. Checks for assistance will follow in another 7-10 days. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also sends loss verifiers to inspect the property of those who have submitted completed loan applications.
Applicants will be asked to verify they own or occupy the damaged property, and that it is their primary residence. A mortgage statement or lease agreement will usually suffice. Federal and state officials stress that under no circumstance will inspectors request any form of payment for their work.
To avoid delaying receipt of assistance, it is wise for applicants to keep their appointments with inspectors or, if unable to do so, to contact FEMA on the toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The number for those with hearing or speech impairments is 1-800-462-7585.
"We are advising applicants to get identification from everyone who claims to be a damage inspector," said John White, director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. "All inspectors and verifiers carry photo identification. If an inspector is not displaying identification, ask to see it."
Individuals may register for disaster assistance by calling the toll-free number. The phone lines are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Counties eligible for assistance are Carroll, Cheatham, Chester, Crockett, Dickson, Dyer, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Houston, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, Montgomery, Obion, Robertson, Stewart and Weakley.