I got an email/text from the Red Cross offering California wildfire 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, CALFIRE, 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 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 failure of the roof, walls or foundation, or a water line above 18 inches. 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 emergency financial assistance, heads of household may be asked to verify their identity and residency. 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 September 1, 2018 and November 30, 2018, or an official document such as mail from a child’s school or vehicle insurance card, dated between September 1, 2018 and November 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 emails and text messages to eligible households by using information already collected through the Red Cross damage assessment process, CALFIRE, or verified by FEMA through the inspection process. It will take some time for us to reach everyone and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through this effort.
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.
Will accepting Red Cross assistance 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.
What is the Family Assistance Center, a Local Assistance Center, or a Disaster Assistance Center?
Individuals and families impacted by this year’s wildfires in California have experienced a tremendous amount of loss including property, personal items, and in some cases family members. A center has been set up to assist these people with emotional support, community resources and in some situations financial assistance.