TRENTON, N.J. -- Residents living in one of the three counties affected by the severe storms and flooding may need to have their homes or businesses inspected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or their insurance companies.
After applying for disaster assistance by calling the FEMA registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY), a FEMA inspector will usually contact the applicant within five to seven days to schedule an appointment for a home inspection. An SBA loss verifier may also schedule an inspection appointment after SBA receives a completed loan application.
Applicants who receive an SBA loan application are urged to fill it out and return the packet even if they do not think they qualify for a loan. If applicants do not fill out the packet, the disaster assistance process will stop and thus, assistance an applicant may otherwise receive will be limited.
For safety reasons, applicants should be aware that FEMA inspectors, SBA loss verifiers, and insurance adjusters are required to carry current identification. Any inspector to a residence will provide identification and will only visit houses previously scheduled for inspection.
FEMA inspectors are currently visiting homes in the counties of Hunterdon, Mercer, and Warren. The free inspection takes about 30-40 minutes and consists of inspecting all damages and reviewing some personal records. Inspectors enter information on site into hand-held computers to relay information directly to the FEMA offices and speed the process of providing assistance. The inspector does not determine whether an applicant is eligible for assistance.
The type of record required by the inspector will include proof the damaged property was a primary residence at the time of the disaster. For renters, this can be proven with a valid driver's license or current utility bill (such as an electric, gas, or water bill) as proof of occupancy. Homeowners will need to provide written confirmation of ownership, such as a home insurance policy, tax receipt, title, or mortgage payment book with the damaged property’s address.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.