ATLANTA- As Georgia residents begin their recovery and apply for federal assistance, the Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) want to empower every survivor with information on what to expect next.
First, file with insurance & apply with FEMA
If you haven’t already done so, file a claim with your insurance company. If you have uninsured or underinsured losses from Michael, contact FEMA for federal assistance by going online to disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).
Don’t wait to start the clean-up process. Be sure to photograph/video damage and keep all receipts for repair work.
If you’re insured for the damage to your home : FEMA may not send an inspector right away. You’ll need to submit insurance documentation to show your coverage is insufficient to meet your disaster-related needs or you have exhausted the Additional Living Expenses provided by the insurance company. FEMA cannot pay for damage covered by insurance or duplicate benefits from another source.
Next, comes a call
A FEMA inspector will contact you to schedule an appointment 7 to 10 days after registration, if you weren’t insured for the damage to your home. During that call, write down:
- The inspector's name;
- Date of call;
- Date and time of appointment; and
- Inspector’s telephone number.
Then, inspection day
The inspection is free. It generally takes 30 to 40 minutes, and consists of inspecting all areas of your home and a review of your records. Inspectors can only verify your loss. They do not decide the outcome of your claim or condemn a property. FEMA inspects damaged property for disaster recovery program purposes only.
The inspector will ask to see:
- Photo identification;
- Proof of ownership/occupancy of damaged residence such as: structural insurance, a tax bill, mortgage payment book or utility bill;
- Insurance documents: home and/or auto (structural insurance/auto declaration sheet);
- List of household occupants living in residence at time of disaster; and
- Disaster related damages to both real and personal property.
Your inspector will have FEMA identification in the form of a badge with a photo that states FEMA and Contractor. If the inspector does not show you photo identification, do not proceed with the inspection.
It’s important to note: you may also receive a visit from more than one inspector during the recovery process. In addition to FEMA contracted housing inspectors, representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), as well as state and local officials may also visit neighborhoods in affected areas.
Finally, a decision will be sent to you
Survivors should receive a determination letter with their eligibility decision and the reason for it by regular mail or electronically, typically within 7 to 10 days after the inspection.
For those who are eligible, the letter states the dollar amount of the grant and how the money must be used. If you disagree with FEMA’s decision, the letter explains how you can appeal the decision.
Read your determination letter carefully. FEMA may need additional information or documentation from you—such as an insurance settlement showing you may not have been covered for all of your essential needs—before you can be reconsidered for federal assistance.
If you have any questions, you can always contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362(TTY 800-462-7585). Find more details about the FEMA inspection process by visiting our website at www.fema.gov/what-happens-inspection. You can also learn more about Georgia’s hurricane recovery at www.fema.gov/disaster/4400.
FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.