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What to Expect When Applying with FEMA

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Release Date:
September 26, 2020

SALEM, OR– If you were affected by the wildfires and straight-line winds beginning Sept. 7, 2020 in Oregon you may be eligible for FEMA assistance. However, you don’t have to wait for FEMA to start cleaning up. Just be sure to take photographs or video of the damage and keep all receipts for repair work.

Assistance provided by FEMA for homeowners and renters can include grants for repairs to make their primary home habitable and rental assistance to pay for temporary housing. FEMA assistance can also help with other disaster-related needs like replacing essential household items and medical, dental, funeral, transportation, moving and storage and child care expenses.

First, contact your insurance company and file a claim for the wildfire or straightline wind damage you’ve suffered.

If you have losses not covered by insurance, contact FEMA by either going online to or by calling the helpline at 800-621-3362. TTY users can call 800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service you can call 800-621-3362.

Information that will be required when you apply includes:

  • Address of the damaged primary dwelling where damage occurred
  • Current mailing address
  • Current telephone number
  • Social Security number
  • Your insurance information
  • Total household annual income
  • Routing and account numbers for checking or savings accounts so FEMA may directly transfer disaster assistance funds
  • A description of wildfire or straightline wind  damage and losses

Home Inspections and COVID-19

If you reported that you cannot or may not be able to safely live in your home, it may be necessary for FEMA to perform an inspection of the damaged dwelling. FEMA home inspections are free of charge.

Applicants can ask the FEMA housing inspector at any time for a disability accommodation, or disaster applicants with disabilities who may require a reasonable accommodation can submit their reasonable accommodation request via email to FEMA’s Office of Equal Rights at or by calling FEMA’s Civil Rights Resource line at 833-CVL-RGHT (833-285-7448).

Due to the COVID-19 nationwide emergency and the need to protect the safety and health of all Americans, some FEMA inspections may be conducted remotely.

For remote inspections, FEMA inspectors will contact applicants by phone to answer questions about the type and extent of damage sustained. Remote inspections provide a new way of evaluating damage; it is comparable to traditional, in-person inspections and expedites the delivery of recovery assistance to survivors based on their eligibility.

Survivors with minimal damage who can live in their homes will not automatically be scheduled for a home inspection when applying for FEMA assistance. Instead, they will receive a letter from FEMA explaining that they may call the FEMA Helpline to request an inspection if they find significant disaster-caused damage to their home after they have applied.

If you have any questions, you can always contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. For TTY call 800-462-7585.


Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362)  711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.