Red Cross financial assistance denials spark criticism

The American Red Cross remains under fire as residents seeking financial assistance are getting denied, many say with no rhyme or reason.

One of those denied, Faye Bingham, says her home was under four feet of water and she lost everything. The Red Cross denied her in 48 hours.

“It was heartbreaking, I can’t even move back in my house. Yet, I have a friend that was displaced for three days, now she’s back and she was approved,” Bingham said.

Bingham’s text didn’t say why she was denied. The Red Cross says it’s working through some glitches but wouldn’t elaborate on specifics, though they did say some applicants have been denied based on a number of variables.

The focus of the Hurricane Harvey assistance program is to deliver funds to those most severely affected. Officials said this includes households that were in those areas most severely impacted by the storm, who were displaced by the storm for several days and who have expressed an immediate need for financial assistance to cover life sustaining items like food and clothing.

“If you were denied and you feel there has been a mistake, there may be an option for you to appeal — just follow the directions in the message you received,” the Red Cross said in a statement. “If there is no appeal option, you are probably not qualified for this program, though you may qualify for other forms of Red Cross support, including sheltering, cleaning supplies, food, health and mental health support and spiritual care.”

The Red Cross said it is currently administering tens of thousands of applications and doing so as quickly as possible, as this is a multistep process. If applicants have not heard from the Red Cross, there is no need to reapply.

The Red Cross will be working alongside community partners to create new programs that address unmet needs, including those long-term recovery needs that were not intended to be satisfied with the Hurricane Harvey assistance program, officials said. Qualifying for the assistance program will not be a precondition for applying for and/or qualifying for these programs.

Officials said for those whose needs may not have been met through the assistance program, but still require immediate assistance, the Red Cross strongly encourages you to apply for federal assistance by registering online at www.disasterassitance.com.

“We understand this is frustrating for some, and we apologize,” the Red Cross said. “We appreciate that this aid is needed, and we are committed to deliver it to those most severely affected by Hurricane Harvey as soon as possible.”

 

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What to do if denied

-Click appeals link

-If no link, call 1-800-RED-CROSS to process the appeal

-Visit www.RedCross.com