FEMA Verification Inspectors Visiting Damaged Ind. Properties Following Jan. 1 Storm

February 7, 2005

Indiana homeowners and renters who have applied for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after the severe winter storms and flooding that began Jan. 1 will reportedly hear soon from damage inspectors.

“When you apply for disaster assistance an inspector will come out and view your damaged property,” said Ron Sherman, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer said. “A FEMA contractor schedules inspections to verify losses within seven days after residents have filed their applications.”

An inspector will make arrangements to come out and examine any structural damage to one’s house, then assesses damage to appliances, such as the washer, dryer, refrigerator and stove. The inspector also reports serious needs, such as temporary rental assistance. Homeowners should identify all known damages and tell the inspector if they have a septic system or a well.

To apply for assistance, Hoosiers who suffered damage from the storms may call FEMA’s toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week until further notice, and multilingual operators are also available to answer your call. Residents with Internet access now have the option to register on the agency’s Web site at www.fema.gov here valuable recovery information is also available.”

To determine eligibility, property owners should be able to show proof of ownership and occupancy to the inspector. Renters also need to show proof of occupancy. If insurance papers are available, residents should show them to the inspector, and officials will ask applicants to show identification.

“We are advising applicants to ask for identification from anyone identifying themselves as damage inspectors,” said Phil Roberts, Indiana State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) state coordinating officer, said. “All inspectors carry official photo identification. If an inspector is not wearing an identification card or badge, ask to see it.” Roberts said. “Official inspectors do not charge anything for this service.”

If individuals suspect fraud, call the police, sheriff, the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline 800-382-5516 or the FEMA Fraud Detection toll-free number 800-323-8603 at once.

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