I got an email/text from the Red Cross offering Hurricane Michael recovery assistance, is this a scam?
No, it isn’t. The Red Cross will send personalized emails and text messages to eligible households by using information already collected through the Red Cross damage assessment process or verified by FEMA through the inspection process. People who receive an email or text from the Red Cross that need emergency financial assistance should follow the instructions provided in the personalized message.
The Red Cross will not ask for your social security number to provide Hurricane Michael assistance. If you receive a communication requesting such information, you should not provide it and report the request to local law enforcement.
What does “major damage” or “destroyed” mean?
Major damage is indicated by significant structural damage to a residence that requires extensive repairs. This may include substantial roof damage, walls or foundation damage. A residence that is destroyed is one that is a total loss or with damage so extensive that repair is not feasible.
What documentation is required to receive Red Cross assistance?
To qualify for Red Cross financial assistance, heads of household may be asked to verify their identity, residency and/or proof of damage. Documentation to validate identity can include U.S. or foreign passport, government issued driver’s license or ID, permanent resident card or consular identification. Documents to validate proof of residence can include a deed, a mortgage statement, a lease or rental agreement, on property letterhead, signed by landlord, a monthly utility bill or bank statement, dated between July 1, 2018 and September 30, 2018, or an official document such as mail from a child’s school or vehicle insurance card, dated between July 1, 2018 and September 30, 2018.
My neighbor was contacted by the Red Cross about emergency financial assistance, but I wasn’t. Why didn’t you contact me?
The Red Cross will send personalized Basic Assistance Program invitation emails and text messages directly to households whose homes were officially inspected and confirmed to have sustained major damage or were destroyed. There are many homes in this category, and it will take a while to reach everyone. If your home sustained major damage or was destroyed as a result of Hurricane Michael, but you did not receive a text or email, please call 1-800-REDCROSS, option 5 to determine if you are eligible and to hear more information on enrolling. If you are having trouble or are uncomfortable enrolling over the phone, you may call your local Red Cross office during normal business hours to speak to someone. The local Red Cross office may have staff available daily, or by appointment, to assist with enrollment.
I received an email/text but my neighbor didn’t, can I forward my email to him?
No, you can’t. The communication can only be used once and only by the original recipient. If you forward the email, whomever you forward it to will not be able to access assistance as the link can only be used once.
By accepting Red Cross assistance will this affect my eligibility for FEMA assistance or the amount I will receive?
No, receiving financial support from the Red Cross will not affect your eligibility for any government assistance, including FEMA, or the amount of funds you receive. In fact, the Red Cross strongly encourages those affected to register with FEMA, as federal assistance is available. Apply for federal assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
Why is the Red Cross giving different amounts of financial assistance to qualified households in the Hurricane Michael Basic Assistance Program than other recovery programs, such as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Florence?
For major disasters, our ability to offer financial assistance is determined by evaluating the level of resources made available to the Red Cross by the generosity of our donors and the overall cost of conducting the response operation. To the extent that the level of available resources exceeds the cost of response operations, funds become available to provide financial assistance. Since each disaster has its own unique circumstances, the cost of response and availability of donated resources is typically different for each major disaster. In the case of Hurricane Michael, the Red Cross is able to provide a second phase of financial assistance to eligible clients to help support ongoing, longer-term recovery needs.