BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has inspectors in Chilton and Jefferson counties surveying damaged and destroyed homes and property.
If you suffered damage from the Jan. 22-23 tornadoes and storms in Chilton or Jefferson counties and applied for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, you may be eligible for grants to help pay for rental housing, essential home repairs and other disaster-related expenses.
The approval process begins with an inspection of your property by an authorized FEMA inspector. The inspector will be a private contractor and will always wear an identification badge. The inspector will first contact you to make an appointment, and then will visit your property to confirm the information you provided when you registered with FEMA.
Be aware that the U.S. Small Business Administration and various insurance companies may also have inspectors working in your area.
How the process works
- Once you register with FEMA – either online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling
800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) – a FEMA inspector will call and set up a time to see your damaged property.
- Be sure to keep your scheduled appointment to keep the process moving quickly. You – or someone who is 18 or older and lived 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:
- A photo ID to prove identity, such as a driver’s license or passport.
- Proof of occupancy, which may include any one of the following:
- A lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or other document confirming the home was the primary residence at the time of the disaster.
- An employee pay stub and similar documents addressed to the applicant and showing the address of the damaged home.
- Proof of ownership, which may include any one of the following:
- Deed showing applicant as the legal owner.
- Title that lists applicant on actual escrow or title document for the purchase of the home; mortgage payment book that names the applicant along with the address of the damaged home.
- Property insurance policy for the damaged home with applicant's name listed as the insured.
- Tax receipts or a property tax bill that lists the address of the damaged home and the applicant as the responsible party to the assessments.
- During the visit, your inspector will review both structural and personal property damage. A typical inspection takes 15 to 45 minutes.
- The inspector will file a report on his findings but will not determine eligibility or assign any monetary value to your damage or losses.
- Within 10 days after the inspector’s visit, you will receive a joint letter from FEMA and the state containing a decision on your application. Your letter also may contain a low-interest disaster loan application from the SBA. You don’t have to apply for or accept an SBA loan. However, simply completing and submitting the SBA loan application opens the door to other possible forms of assistance.
- If you have questions about your decision letter, you can call the FEMA helpline number – 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-...