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FEMA Inspections

Produced by Massachusetts Justice Project
Created June 20, 2011

What to expect

Inspectors call

  1. When you register, you will get a 9-digit application number.
  2. An inspector will call you to schedule an appointment to visit the damaged property. Usually they will call within 10 days. When the inspector calls you, he or she will ask you if your your registration details are correct. They may ask you if the Social Security number they have for you is correct. Answer yes, or no. Do not give them your Social Security number if the number they have for you is wrong.  Authorized inspectors should only be checking the information they have is correct. They should not be asking you for new information. Also, authorized inspectors normally only call you if you have already applied for disaster assistance.

Inspector's visit


Inspectors are private contractors who wear official FEMA identification.

Authorized FEMA inspectors do not request any payment at all.

  1. Keep the appointment you make with the inspector.
  2. The inspector will look at the damage to your property and write a report. The inspector does not decide if you can get a grant. He or she only writes the report.
  3. The inspection takes about 15-45 minutes.
  4. If you cannot keep the appointment, you can have someone else there, but that person
    1. must have been living there at the time of the disaster, and
    2. be 18 or older.
  5. The inspector will ask you for proof that you own the property or that you are renting it. It helps to have ready:
    • A photo ID to prove identity, such as driver's license or passport;
    • "Proof of occupancy" that shows you live there means things like:
      • A bill for utilities, or a credit card with your name and the address of the property on it.
      • Delivery notices or other first class mail with your name and the address of the property on it.
      • Pay stubs and similar documents addressed to you that show the address of the damaged home; or
      • Your current driver's license with the address of the damaged home on it.
    • "Proof of ownership", that shows you own the damaged property means things like:
      • The Deed that shows you are the legal owner;
      • The title that lists you on actual escrow or
      • The title document for the purchase of the home; 
      • Your mortgage payment book that names you and has the address of the damaged home on it; 
      • Real property insurance policy for the damaged home with your name listed as the insured; or
      • Tax receipts or a property tax bill that lists the address of the damaged home and you as the taxpayer.

After the Inspector's Visit

  1. You will get a letter from FEMA with a decision. Usually you will get this letter within 10 days of the inspector's visit.
    If you have any questions about the letter, call the helpline number - 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). 
  2. If the letter says you are eligible, soon you will get a check in the mail, or the letter will tell you that FEMA has deposited money into your bank account.
  3. The letter explains how the money can be used.
  4. You may get an application for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).


You do not have to accept a loan, but the application opens the door to other kinds of assistance. It is a good idea to complete and return the application as soon as possible.

You can get answers to questions about the progress of your application:

  • online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov (anytime).
  • Call 800-621-FEMA (3362), 
  • TTY 800-462-7585
    These toll-free telephone numbers are staffed 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., every day until further notice.
    Help is available in most languages.
  • Smartphone  m.fema.gov.

Homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations can register online anytime.

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