Austin, TX.- December, 1st, 2015.- After disaster survivors have registered for federal disaster assistance, FEMA will ask them to provide information on disaster damage, proof of identity and residence, insurance and other documentation, to determine eligibility.

As a first step, a FEMA contract inspector will contact applicants to make an appointment to view disaster damage. It is important to provide good contact information at the time of registration and keep the appointment to keep the application moving forward.

Applicants unable to be present for the inspection can designate someone in the household over 18 years of age who was living at in the household prior to the disaster. If an inspection cannot be made, FEMA cannot continue to process the application. Applicants should contact FEMA if they have not heard from an inspector within one week of registering.

The inspector is thoroughly trained and uses specialized software to verify disaster damage quickly. The inspection may only last 10 or 20 minutes. The inspector does not make decisions on eligibility; FEMA will notify applicants in writing of its decision.

Homeowners may use FEMA housing assistance grants to repair or replace:

  • Key systems such as plumbing, electrical and heating;
  • Structural components such as roofs, outside walls and foundations;
  • Windows, doors, floors, walls, ceiling, cabinetry
  • Septic and well systems
  • Mobile home resetting and anchoring, and reconnecting utilities

Renters and homeowners may qualify for grants for other disaster-related necessary expenses and serious needs, such as clothing, child care, room furnishings and appliances, medical and dental costs, specialized tools, heating fuels, vehicles and moving and storage expenses.

Both homeowners and renters should be able to provide identification and proof of occupancy, such as a lease, rent receipt or utility bill. Additionally, homeowners will be asked to provide proof of ownership, such as a property deed or title, mortgage payment book, property insurance policy or tax receipts.

Important documents destroyed in the disaster may be duplicated with help from outside sources, such as a county clerk’s office, insurance agency, or utility company.

Although there are other legitimate inspectors in the field, beware of people posing as FEMA inspectors or “FEMA approved” repair contractors. FEMA makes no such endorsements. In a disaster, scammers abound; be cautious with strangers, especially those from outside the area.

Legitimate FEMA inspectors will have the applicant’s nine-digit case number assigned at registration. Inspections are free; inspectors are not authorized to ask for personal financial information other than to verify information provided at registration.

To apply for federal disaster assistance, call FEMA at 800-621-3362 or go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Toll-free lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Multilingual operators are available. Disaster assistance applicants who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service, call 800-621-3362.

Texans in the following counties may register for disaster assistance for damage or losses sustained during the period Oct. 22 to Oct. 31: Bastrop, Brazoria, Caldwell, Comal, Galveston, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Liberty, Navarro, Travis, Willacy and Wilson.

For more information on Texas recovery, visit the disaster web page at www.fema.gov/disaster/4245Twitter athttps://www.twitter.com/femaregion6 and the Texas Division of Emergency Management website, https://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem.

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All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. 

Visit www.fema.gov/texas-disaster-mitigation for publications and reference material on rebuilding and repairing safer and stronger.