After you apply for disaster assistance, FEMA must verify your disaster-caused damage through an onsite or remote inspection. Over the course of a few days FEMA staff and inspectors may call from an unknown or restricted phone number and make several attempts to discuss your disaster-caused damage.
An inspection can only be done when the applicant (you) or co-applicant is present. If the applicant or co-applicant is unable to meet with an inspector, a third-party can be designated in writing and pre-authorized before the scheduled time and date for the inspection.
If the home cannot be accessed, the inspector may meet with the applicant at the obstruction or a neutral location to verify occupancy and/or ownership.
Preparing for Your Inspection
Do not wait for the inspection to take place to do the following:
- File a claim with your insurance company, if you have insurance.
- Start cleaning up now, if it is safe to do so.
- Take photos of any damage.
- Make a list of your losses.
- Keep all receipts to verify expenses caused by the disaster.
Scheduling Your Inspection
Remember FEMA staff and inspectors may call from an unknown or restricted phone number and make several attempts over the course of a few days.
If FEMA is unable to contact you to verify your damage, you will be sent a letter of notice and your application cannot be processed further—to proceed you must call FEMA’s Helpline (800-621-3362) to confirm your contact information and verify your need for assistance. Do not re-submit or create a new application at any point during the disaster assistance process. You can check the status of your application or read any FEMA letters by accessing your DisasterAssistance.gov account.
Information to Gather for Your Inspection
You should have the following information ready at the time of the inspection:
- Your photo identification
- Proof of ownership or occupancy, if requested by the inspector
- List of household occupants living in the home at the time of disaster
- All disaster-caused damage to property
- Your insurance policy and any additional documents requested by the inspector
During Your Inspection
FEMA inspectors are trained to recognize damage caused by a disaster, but they do not decide if you will receive assistance.
They observe and record damage that may be eligible within the Individuals and Households Program, which is different from assessments made by insurance adjusters or other disaster assistance programs, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Depending on the amount of damage, the inspection may take up to 45 minutes to complete.
Accommodations for Your Inspection
Reasonable accommodations, including translation and ASL interpreters, will be available to ensure effective communication with survivors with limited English proficiency, survivors with disabilities, and other individuals with access and functional needs.
You may invite an individual, such as a household member, relative or friend, to assist in communicating with the inspector.
After Your Inspection
You will receive information explaining FEMA's eligibility decision within 10 days after the inspector's visit.
If you are determined eligible for assistance, you may receive a U.S. Treasury check or direct deposit based on what you selected during your application.
If you are determined ineligible for assistance or your application is incomplete, you can appeal the decision within 60 days and/or request an opportunity to complete the application.
FEMA inspectors are unable to answer questions or access your information once they complete your inspection. If you have questions after your inspection, please call FEMA’s Helpline at 800-621-3362.