As the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) works to help get California communities back on the road to recovery from the February and March storms, its important residents know what to expect after they register for federal assistance.
Through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), residents impacted in San Luis Obispo, Butte, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Mono, Monterey, San Bernardino, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Tulare, and Tuolumne counties can register for federal assistance to help them repair or replace damaged property that was destroyed by the February and March storms.
HOW TO REGISTER
- Online at Disasterassistance.gov
- Calling 800-621-3362
- By using the FEMA App on your smart phone:
- If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service
*The deadline to apply is extended to SEPTEMBER 1, 2023
Individuals can expect a federal inspector to contact them within 10 days to schedule an appointment to inspect the household. It’s recommended that the individuals answer calls from out-of-state area codes or calls that may appear on their caller ID as “unavailable.”
The federal inspector will attempt to call the individuals three times on different days and different times to reach the registrant. If the registrant is unreachable by phone call, a letter and/or email will be sent to the address provided by the individual who registered.
DURING THE CALL, WRITE DOWN THE FOLLOWING:
- Inspector’s name
- Date of the call
- Date and time of appointment
- Inspector’s telephone number
Individuals can call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 to notify them of any discrepancies.
Registrants can then expect a home inspection on the agreed upon date and time from their initial phone call. Home inspections typically take 30 to 40 minutes to complete. Registrants or co-registrants will be required to present a photo ID when meeting with their federal inspector. A friend, household member or relative can attend the inspection to help communicate with the federal inspector.
If the registrant or co-registrant are unable to meet with the federal home inspector, it is recommended to write to FEMA to designate another individual who will then be authorized to take the registrant’s place during the home inspection. If individuals need ADA accommodation or an American Sign Language interpreter to communicate, they may request one at the FEMA helpline: 800-621-3362.
PRESENT THE FOLLOWING DURING THE HOME INSPECTION:
- Photo ID
- Proof of occupancy of damaged residence such as a utility bill, driver’s license, merchant statement (bank statement/credit card bill/medical bill/official mail), voter’s registration card, landlord statement (rent receipt/lease)
- Proof of ownership of damaged residence such as homeowner’s insurance, tax bill, mortgage payment book, deed or title
- Insurance documents: homeowner’s, mobile home, condominium or renter’s policy
- List of people living in the residence at the time of the disaster
- Disaster-caused damage and disaster-related losses to structural and personal property
The federal inspector will look at disaster-damaged areas in the home and review the above records with the registrants. Inspectors can only verify damaged property and confirm disaster-recovery program purposes, they do not determine the outcome of the individual’s registration, nor do they condemn the property.
If registrants have already begun repairs, it is recommended that the damage be documented through photos/videos and to retain any receipts from disaster-related purchases.
If registrants carry homeowner’s insurance, FEMA may not send an inspector immediately. They will need to submit insurance documentation to confirm the existing coverage does not cover disaster-related needs or registrants will need to submit proof that they have exhausted the additional living expense the insurance company provides.
If registrants already received funding from another source, such as from an insurance company or another source – such as crowdfunding or financial assistance from voluntary agencies, then FEMA cannot give a grant for expenses already covered.
WARNING ABOUT SCAMS
The inspector will have FEMA Identification in the form of a badge with a photo. Should an inspector refuse to offer their badge, do not proceed with the inspection. Federal inspections do not charge any fees and recommend refusing any individuals looking to charge for services rendered for home inspections. Federal assistance is free of charge.