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Hurricane Harvey – Financial Assistance

Updated on 11/7/17

As of October 31, the American Red Cross has authorized payment of $400 to more than 573,000 households severely affected by Hurricane Harvey. That’s more than $229 million in direct financial assistance. While our Harvey financial assistance program closed on Tuesday, October 10, we are still processing open applications.  


If you are experiencing an issue with your application, please call 1-800-RED CROSS. This is the best way to connect with someone on the status of your application. Please note that we are not able to handle financial assistance program inquiries from this blog.

As we continue to provide food, shelter and comfort for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, the American Red Cross is delivering financial assistance into the hands of people who need it most. On the first day of this effort on September 11, we approved $45 million in financial assistance to more than 100,000 qualified households who needed immediate help.

However, this unprecedented demand challenged our IT infrastructure and caused us to temporarily suspend service. We understand this has been frustrating for the many families still in need of assistance and we are working around the clock to implement reliable solutions to accommodate demand.

Despite this setback, the Red Cross is fully committed to providing financial support to help meet the needs of those most impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

The following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to Red Cross financial assistance:


Q: When will the Red Cross assistance website be available?

A: On Thursday, September 21, the Red Cross launched a single website where qualified households severely impacted by Harvey may apply for assistance. Registration will remain open until October 10.

Q: Who may register for financial assistance?

A: Red Cross financial assistance of $400 will be available to qualifying households that were severely impacted by Harvey within these 39 Texas counties: Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzalez, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller and Wharton.

Q: Do I need to be an American citizen to receive financial assistance from the Red Cross?

A: The Red Cross is a charity, not a government agency, and people do not need to be American citizens to receive our assistance.

Q: I have seen answers to the qualification questions posted online. Isn’t that fraud?

A: The Red Cross has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to fraud and aggressively pursues fraudulent activities. If you are aware of fraud, please contact your local law enforcement or the Red Cross at disasterfraud@redcross.org or through our toll free Concern Connection Line at 1-888-309-9679.

Q: Has anything changed about the application process?

A: Yes. The application system now uses a two-step process to gather information online, determine eligibility and authorize assistance. In the first step, an applicant registers for the program, providing personal identification information and answering questions about how Hurricane Harvey has affected their household. After completing this first step, all applicants will receive an email or text that provides their application status. If qualified, the applicant will receive an invitation to re-enter the system to complete the application. In this step, qualified applicants verify their identity and choose a method of payment.


Q: I have already registered but haven’t received a reference code/was unable to select a payment method.

A: The Red Cross is processing registrations for pending applicants whose registrations were not completed when the system became overwhelmed. For example, because of the system overload, some applicants did not receive reference codes or were unable to select payment methods. Those applications will be completed when the system has relaunched. Qualified applicants will receive a text or email with instructions for completing the process. We understand this has been frustrating and apologize for the confusion.

Q: I chose the PayPal or Zelle option and still haven’t seen a deposit come through.

A: We have a number of PayPal and Zelle applications that are in process. You do not need to reapply.