Individual and Households Program: Exterior and Remote Inspections

Release Date:
September 10, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 nationwide emergency and the need to protect the safety and health of all Americans, FEMA is conducting initial exterior and remote home inspections for disaster survivors until further notice.

What to Expect After Applying for FEMA Assistance

  • FEMA is fully committed to a whole of America response to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the health and safety of the American people. Social distancing and eliminating unnecessary contact are key to help slow the virus’ spread and keep our most high-risk populations safe.
  • An exterior inspection will be the primary form of inspection. In some cases, survivors may be contacted for a remote inspection.
  • Exterior inspections have no impact on eligibility for the types of Other Needs Assistance available that do not require an inspection. This includes childcare, medical and dental, funeral expenses, moving and storage, and Group Flood Insurance Policy assistance.

Exterior Inspection Process

  • Disaster survivors who applied to FEMA and reported that they may not or cannot live at home due to damage may be contacted by FEMA to schedule an exterior inspection. When an exterior inspection is scheduled, the applicant or co-applicant, will need to meet with an inspector and provide the applicant or co-applicant’s photo ID. The meeting will take place outdoors with the inspector following current CDC guidance. The inspector will not enter the home. The inspector validates damage from the exterior and from questioning the applicant about their damage. If the applicant or co-applicant are unable to meet with an inspector, a third party can be designated in writing.
  • Reasonable accommodations, including translation and ASL interpreters will be available to ensure effective communication with applicants with limited English proficiency, applicants with disabilities, and other individuals with access and functional needs.
  • Applicants who use a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel should make sure the specific number assigned to that service is listed as the   contact number in their application. If they are communicating through Zoom or FaceTime, the applicant or co-applicant can request an interpreter through Facetime or an interpreter and captioning through Zoom.
  • The applicant may invite a designated party, such as a household member, relative or friend, to assist in communicating with the inspector.

Based on the exterior inspection and existing eligibility criteria, awards may be generated for Rental Assistance, Home Repair, Replacement, and Other Needs Assistance (ONA).

Last updated September 23, 2021