INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are contacting hundreds of disaster applicants whose homes sustained damage from the severe storms and flooding of March 8 -14.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and insurance companies also have inspectors in the field.
"The FEMA inspector is there to document damage, not to determine whether an applicant is eligible for assistance," said Federal Coordinating Officer Regis Phelan.
Before an inspector is assigned, homeowners or renters with uninsured disaster-related damage must register with FEMA. They can register by phone at 1 -800-621-3362 (FEMA), (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired or online at //www.disasterassistance.gov . Multilingual assistance is available.
"It is critical that FEMA has current contact information and accurate directions so inspectors can reach each eligible applicant," said State Coordinating Officer Joseph E. Wainscott, Jr.
Understanding The Inspection Process
- Damage inspection is free.
- A FEMA inspector will contact an applicant by phone to schedule an appointment.
- An applicant should give clear, accurate directions to the damaged property, the street address and a current phone number.
- A street address is required; post office boxes do not show locations.
- An inspector will try three times to schedule an inspection appointment. After that, unnecessary delays may occur.
- Owners and renters must show proof of occupancy such as a valid driver's license.
- Owners also must show proof of ownership and some forms will need to be signed.
- Inspection times vary; from 15 minutes to over an hour, depending on the damage.
Be Alert for Disaster Fraud
FEMA inspectors carry official photo identification. Please contact the local police or call the Attorney General's office at 1- 866-966-7226 if money is requested for an inspection or you believe someone is misrepresenting themselves as an inspector.
- FEMA ID includes the person's photo and name. The FEMA seal and the ID's expiration date are highly visible.
- FEMA ID includes a "property of the U.S. Government" disclaimer, a return address and a barcode.
- Official inspectors will never ask for money or use a vehicle bearing a FEMA logo.
FEMA encourages anyone who believes she or he may have witnessed fraudulent activity to report it immediately through the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General's Fraud Hotline 1-800-323-8603. Consumers who feel that they have been a victim of fraud may file a complaint with the Indiana Office of the Attorney General by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com or calling 1-800-382-5516.
Those who suspect anyone - an inspector, contractor, disaster victim or someone posing as any of these - of committing fraudulent activities should make a report to their local law enforcement office. Individuals reporting suspicious activity do not have to give their names.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.