BATON ROUGE, La. -- Individuals who have applied for federal and state disaster assistance can expect to be contacted and will be visited by a damage inspector to verify losses, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“The inspections help us determine the amount of damages experienced by an applicant and their eligibility, which allows us to assist them in the quickest and most efficient way possible,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Pete Martinasco. “Without inspections we would be unable to determine the assistance needed by applicants.”
Individuals can expect one or more inspectors to visit and assess their damaged property. Housing inspectors will schedule an appointment after an individual has registered with Homeland Security, FEMA. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) sends loss verifiers to inspect damaged property of those who have submitted a completed loan application.
Applicants will be asked to verify that they own or occupy the damaged property and that it is their primary residence. Federal and state officials stress that under no circumstances will inspectors request money or any form of payment for their work.
“We are advising applicants to ask for identification from everyone saying they are damage inspectors,” said State Coordinating Officer Art Jones. “All inspectors and verifiers carry official photo identification. If an inspector’s identification is not visible, ask to see it.”
Individuals may register for disaster assistance by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Hearing or speech impaired individuals may call TTY at 1-800-462-7585.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.