Westfield, Mass. -- Inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are contacting disaster applicants in Berkshire and Franklin counties whose primary home or rental residence had losses caused by Tropical Storm Irene during the August 27-29 period.
Legitimate FEMA inspectors won't ask for personal information, such as a Social Security number, or request payment for the services they provide.
Inspectors are private contractors who wear official FEMA photo identification. When inspectors call, they will confirm your registration details, including Social Security and assigned registration numbers. But authorized inspectors will not ask for these details and usually do not approach an applicant without prior contact.
Renters, homeowners and business owners who have incurred losses from the disaster in Berkshire and Franklin counties can apply for assistance.
Here Is What To Expect:
Inspector's Call: When you register -- either online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) or by electronic device at m.fema.gov -- you will receive a 9-digit registration number. An inspector will then call to schedule an appointment to visit the damaged property -- usually within 10 days after registration.
Inspector's Visit: Keep the scheduled appointment to make sure the assistance process moves quickly. Inspectors assess disaster-related property damage. Inspectors file damage reports, but they do not determine eligibility. The inspector's visit typically takes 15 minutes to as long as 45 minutes.
You -- or your representative who is 18 or older and was living in the household prior to the disaster -- must be present for the scheduled appointment. The inspector will ask for identification and proof of ownership and occupancy (for homeowners) and occupancy only (for renters). You can speed up the process by having the appropriate documents on hand:
Proof of occupancy, such as:
- A photo ID to prove identity, such as driver's license or passport;
- A utility bill from with the address of the damaged home and the applicant's name listed or a merchant's statement, credit card bills, delivery notices or other first class mail addressed to the applicant and showing the address of the damaged home;
- Pay stubs and similar documents addressed to the applicant and showing the address of the damaged home;
- Current driver's license showing the address of the damaged home.
Proof of ownership, such as:
- Deed showing you as the legal owner;
- Title that lists you on actual escrow or title document for the purchase of the home;
- Mortgage payment book that names you along with the address of the damaged home;
- Real property insurance policy for the damaged home with your name listed as the insured;
- Tax receipts or a property tax bill that lists the address of the damaged home and you as the responsible party to the assessments.
After the Inspector's Visit: You will receive a letter from FEMA containing a decision within 10 days of the inspector's visit. If you have any questions about the letter, call the helpline number -- 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).
If you are eligible for assistance, the letter will be followed by a check or an electronic funds transfer. The letter explains how the money can be used.
You can get answers to questions about the progress of your application by:
- Going online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov (anytime).
- Calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585 (These toll-free telephone numbers are staffed daily 7 a.m....