CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- FEMA Inspectors have arrived in Tennessee to assist the residents with damaged homes in Hamilton, Bradley, Washington, and Greene counties.

Inspectors are currently contacting victims, who have applied for aid.

Federal assistance to individuals and households may include grants to help pay for rental housing, essential home repairs and other disaster-related expenses.

Inspectors are private contractors who wear official FEMA identification. Authorized inspectors will only confirm personal detailed information that has been provided previously during the registration process. They will usually not approach an applicant without prior contact.

The U.S. Small Business Administration and various insurance companies also have inspectors in the field.

Here's what to expect:

Inspector's Call: After you register – either online at  or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) – a nine-digit application number is assigned. An inspector will then call to schedule an appointment to visit your damaged property – generally no longer than 10 days after registration.

Inspector's Visit: Keep the scheduled appointment to make sure the assistance process moves quickly. Inspectors will review both structural and personal property damage and file a report, but they do not determine eligibility. The inspection typically takes 15 to 45 minutes.

You – or someone who is 18 or older and lived in the household prior to the disaster – must be present for the scheduled appointment.

The inspector will ask for identification and proof of ownership and occupancy (for homeowners) and occupancy only (for renters). You can speed up the process by having the appropriate documents on hand:

  • A photo ID to prove identity, such as driver's license or passport.
  • Proof of occupancy, which may include any one of the following:
    • A lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or other document confirming the home was the primary residence at the time of the disaster.
    • An employee pay stub and similar documents addressed to the applicant and showing the address of the damaged home 
  • Proof of ownership, which may include any one of the following:
  • Deed showing applicant as the legal owner;
  • Title that lists applicant on actual escrow or title document for the purchase of the home; mortgage payment book that names the applicant along with the address of the damaged home;
  • Property insurance policy for the damaged home with applicant's name listed as the insured;
  • Tax receipts or a property tax bill that lists the address of the damaged home and the applicant as the responsible party to the assessments.

After the Inspector's Visit: You will receive a letter from FEMA containing a decision within 10 days of the inspector's visit. If you have any questions about the letter, call the help line number –

800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

If you are eligible for assistance, the letter will be followed by a check or an electronic funds transfer. The letter explains how the money can be used.

You may receive a low-interest disaster loan application in the mail from the U.S. Small Business Administration. You do not have to accept a loan. However, completing an SBA application opens the door to other possible forms of assistance.

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

  • Going online at (anytime);
  • Calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585 (These toll-free telephone numbers are staffed daily 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., until further notice. Help is available in most languages.)
  • Using a smartphone or Web-enabled device to visit
  • Homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations can register online anytime.