LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansans who have applied for disaster assistance may be contacted and visited by a damage inspector, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM).
"The inspections help us verify the damages, which allows us to help applicants get the most assistance they're eligible for in the quickest and most efficient way possible," said Carlos Mitchell, federal coordinating officer.
Individuals can expect one or more inspectors to visit and assess the damaged property. FEMA housing inspectors will usually schedule appointments within seven to 10 days following an application. Similarly, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) sends loss verifiers to inspect damaged property for homeowners, renters and all size businesses and private non-profits, who have submitted a completed loan application.
Inspections cannot be scheduled until a registration is made by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY at 1-800-462-7585. Individuals and business owners may call from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. People may also apply online, 24 hours a day using the Online Individual Assistance Center.
After calling the toll-free registration line, insured homeowners must file and settle their insurance claim before a FEMA inspector will visit. (A letter explaining the process will be sent to applicants.) SBA Loss Verifiers will make an appointment to inspect the damages as soon as a completed application is received, regardless of insurance settlement.
"We advise applicants to ask for identification from damage inspectors," said Richard Griffin, state coordinating officer. "All inspectors and verifiers carry official photo identification."
State and federal officials stress that under no circumstances will FEMA or SBA inspectors request money or any form of payment for their work.