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Options to Prove Home Occupancy

Release Date:
October 14, 2022

Homeowners and renters who apply for federal disaster assistance must be able to show they lived in the disaster-damaged residence before Hurricane Fiona. If FEMA cannot verify this information during the registration process applicants may need to provide additional documents. 

Documents that can help prove occupancy

The following can be dated up to a year prior to the disaster:

  • Utility bills: Electric, gas, oil, trash, water/sewer bills that show the name of the applicant or the co-applicant and the address of the disaster-damaged residence.

  • Merchant’s statement: Bank or credit card bill, phone bill, cable/satellite bill, medical provider’s bill, etc., that reflect the name of the applicant or co-applicant and the disaster-damaged residence address.

  • Employer’s documents: Pay stubs or similar documents received before the disaster, or a letter or other written statement from an employer prepared after the disaster, that reflects the name of the applicant or co-applicant and the disaster-damaged residence address.

  • Rent receipts: Copy of a rent receipt or bank statement (e.g., image of the cancelled rent check) that reflects the name of the applicant or co-applicant, the landlord’s contact information, and the address of the pre-disaster housing unit.

  • Public official’s documents: Documentation received before the disaster from a public official (e.g., Puerto Ric Government Agency or Municipal government official) that includes the name of the applicant or co-applicant and the disaster-damaged residence address, or a letter or document prepared after the disaster that includes the name of the applicant or co-applicant, the disaster-damaged residence address, and that the applicant or co-applicant occupied the disaster-damaged dwelling at the time of the disaster.

  • Affidavits of Residency or Other Court Documentation: Copy of court documentation which notes the name of the applicant or co-applicant and the disaster-damaged residence address.

  • Lease/housing agreement: Copy of a written lease, housing agreement or landlord’s written statement that includes the name of the applicant or co-applicant, the landlord’s contact information and the basic terms of tenancy, including the location of the pre-disaster unit, duration of the lease confirming that the applicant lived there at the time of the disaster, and signatures from both the applicant or co-applicant and the landlord. FEMA will accept a lease or housing agreement without a signature from the landlord, but FEMA must be able to verify the lease with the landlord.

  • Motor Vehicle Registration: Copy of a motor vehicle registration which shows that the vehicle was registered to the applicant or co-applicant at the disaster-damaged residence address.

  • Federal or State Benefit Documents: Documents received before the disaster from a federal or state agency that provided benefits to the applicant (e.g., Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and includes the name of the applicant or co-applicant and the disaster-damaged residence address or a letter or written statement from the organization prepared after the disaster verifying that the applicant or co-applicant occupied the disaster-damaged dwelling address at the time of the disaster.

  • Local School Documents: Documentation received from a public or private school or the school district before the disaster that include the child’s disaster-damaged residence and the name of the applicant or co-applicant, or a letter or other written statement from the school or school district prepared after the disaster verifying the child’s residence at the time of the disaster and includes, in the case of a dependent, the name of the applicant or co-applicant.

  • Social Service Organization Documents: Documentation received before the disaster from a social service organization that provided pre-disaster services to the applicant (e.g., Center for Independent Living, Meals on Wheels) and includes the name of the applicant or co-applicant and the disaster-damaged residence address or a letter or other written statement from the organization prepared after the disaster verifying that the applicant or co-applicant occupied the disaster-damaged dwelling address at the time of the disaster.

Other documents:

  • Driver’s license, state-issued ID card or voter card that reflects the name of the applicant or co-applicant and the address of the damaged residence. ID cards must not be expired at the time of the disaster.

  • Self-declarative statement in writing to prove occupancy of the home. The self-declarative statement should include the address of the damaged home, length of time the applicant occupied the home prior to the presidential disaster declaration, and the applicant/co-applicant’s name and signature.

NOTE: Letters, written statements or documents intended to prove occupancy must include the name and telephone number of the public official providing verification.

If you have questions about your FEMA application, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA the number for that service. You may also visit any of the Disaster Recovery Centers for help with your application.

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