Financial assistance

FEMA will consider applications for assistance if applicant has GoFundMe

Complaint: FEMA will not accept a request for assistance if the disaster victim has a GoFundMe page

Devastating flash floods in eastern Kentucky left at least 39 dead and many other displaced people, with countless houses swept away and businesses destroyed.

The floods were caused by storms that swept the area late July, and recovery efforts continue, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

As flood survivors began to pick up the pieces, Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that residents of five Kentucky counties could ask for individual helpwhich, according to the agency’s website, could include grants, loans and “other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”

FEMA had, as of August 15, approved more than $40 million in direct assistance to those affected by the floods, but many have also turned to others for help, including the crowdfunding site GoFundMe.

Still, some social media users have warned disaster survivors against using GoFundMe to raise money, saying it would be impossible to get federal aid.

“FYI: If you’re a victim of a flood and think it’s a good idea to create a Gofundme page, DON’T! If you have a Gofundme page, FEMA will not accept an application as it considers this sufficient to help,” it read. a Facebook post on August 1 which has been shared 140 times.

But the assertion is false.

Although donations from a GoFundMe Page may affect a person’s eligibility for support, having a GoFundMe Page is not an automatic disqualification.

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USA TODAY has reached out to the user who shared the complaint for comment. In response, the user only shared a screenshot of Google search results which included a news story citing Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear warning that GoFundMe donations “may affect your eligibility for FEMA”.

FEMA does not duplicate aid from other sources.

By law, FEMA cannot duplicate help people receive from another source, FEMA spokeswoman Johanna Strickland told USA TODAY.

“If you receive money from a GoFundMe page for something specific, such as repairs, funeral expenses, or other assistance, it may affect your FEMA eligibility, but survivors should always apply for help and let FEMA determine if you’re eligible,” Strickland said.

Beshear does a similar statement early August. The governor said FEMA told him it could not duplicate funding for specific issues such as home repairs if money had been received from another source, such as a GoFundMe page, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

A GoFundMe page alone does not automatically disqualify someone from receiving FEMA assistance, said Jacques Graythe Senior Director of Mitigation at Tidal poola New York-based disaster recovery consulting firm.

“I wouldn’t say (FEMA) wouldn’t accept it,” he said. “They would still review it and review it for any eligibility.”

Gray, who is also a former risk mitigation officer for the state of Kansas, said the agency has limited funds to help people, so she tries to avoid paying for projects with others. funding sources.

“FEMA is going to want to use its funds for projects that don’t already have a funding source available,” he said.

GoFundMe did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Our opinion: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the statement that FEMA will not accept a request for assistance if the disaster victim has a GoFundMe page. Because FEMA cannot duplicate benefits people receive from another source, GoFundMe donations made for a specific purpose, such as home repairs, could affect eligibility for federal assistance. A GoFundMe page is not an automatic disqualification. A FEMA spokesperson said disaster survivors in need of financial assistance should apply for assistance and let the agency determine their eligibility.

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