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Surfside Building Collapse: Individual Assistance FAQ

Release Date:
July 5, 2021

Disaster response is a whole community effort and FEMA is working closely with our partners in government, the private sector, and voluntary and faith-based organizations to help survivors of the Champlain Towers South building collapse and next of kin of lost loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for FEMA assistance?

  • These general conditions must be met for an applicant to be eligible to receive FEMA Individuals & Households Assistance:
    • The applicant’s pre-disaster primary residence was at Champlain Towers South, 8777 Collins Avenue.
    • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
    • FEMA must be able to verify the applicant's identity.
    • The applicant’s insurance, or other forms of disaster assistance received, cannot meet their disaster-caused needs.
    • The applicant’s necessary expenses and serious needs are directly caused by the Surfside building collapse.

What type of FEMA assistance is available for Surfside Building Collapse survivors under the President’s emergency declaration?

  • The President’s June 25 emergency declaration authorizes FEMA to offer its Individuals and Households Program to survivors and next of kin of lost loved ones of the Champlain Towers South building collapse. Assistance may include:
    • Lodging Expense Reimbursement – Reimbursement of hotel expenses for uninsured applicants whose homes were unlivable during the incident period. Keep copies of your receipts to file with your application.
    • Home Repair/Replacement Assistance – Funds for homeowners to repair uninsured disaster-caused damage for losses not already covered by or the responsibility of the condo association.
    • Rental Assistance – Funds may be available to rent alternative housing for applicants whose homes were made unlivable by the disaster. 
    • Funeral Assistance –Financial assistance to help with eligible expenses, not covered by other sources such as insurance, related to a death attributed directly or indirectly to the Surfside building collapse.
    • Childcare Assistance – Financial assistance may be available to address increased disaster-caused child-care expenses for eligible households.
    • Critical Needs Assistance – A one-time $500 payment per eligible household who has immediate or critical needs because they are displaced from their primary dwelling. Immediate or critical needs are life- saving and life-sustaining items including, but not limited to, water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items and fuel for transportation.
    • Personal Property Assistance – Funds for applicants to repair or replace essential uninsured disaster-damaged personal property.
    • Miscellaneous Items – Funds for certain items purchased due to the disaster.
    • Transportation Assistance – Funds for primary vehicles damaged by the building collapse that are not covered by insurance.
    • Medical and Dental Assistance – Funds for uninsured medical and dental needs or losses caused by the building collapse.
    • FEMA cannot reimburse you for food lost due to a power failure. However, voluntary organizations in your community may be able to help.

What should I do if my primary home and contents were damaged or destroyed by the building collapse?

What is FEMA Temporary Housing Assistance?

  • FEMA temporary housing assistance may be available for homeowners or renters to rent a place to live if you do not have insurance coverage for Loss of Use and your home is no longer livable due to the Champlain Towers South collapse.
  • Temporary Housing assistance may last up to 18 months from the time of the emergency declaration, June 24, 2021.

What if I am seeking Funeral Assistance for a lost family member?

  • FEMA may be able to provide grants to you if you have or will incur funeral expenses as a result of the Champlain Towers South collapse under the Other Needs Assistance provision of the Individuals and Households Program.
  • The applicant (person incurring the expenses) must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
  • You do not need to live in Miami-Dade County to be eligible for funeral assistance.
  • Funeral Assistance is limited to up to $7,500 per decedent.
  • For multiple family member deaths, FEMA may provide assistance up to the Other Needs Assistance maximum award which is $36,000.
  • The following items are eligible expenses:
    • Transfer of remains
    • Casket or urn
    • Burial plot or cremation niche
    • Marker or headstone
    • Transportation for up to two individuals to identify the deceased if such identification is required by state local, tribal or territorial government authorities
    • Interment
    • Funeral services
    • Clergy or officiant services
    • Costs associated with producing and certifying up to five death certificates, and/or
    • Additional expenses mandated by any applicable local government laws or ordinances
  • FEMA cannot provide assistance for any of the following:      
    • Obituaries
    • Flowers
    • Printed materials such as banners, programs, or register books
    • Catering services, including food
    • Transporting applicant or others to site(s) of funeral services or interment
    • Gratuities

How do I apply for FEMA assistance?

  • To apply with FEMA, visit the Family Assistance Center at the Sea View Hotel at 9909 Collins Avenue open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily. There are state, local and volunteer resources onsite at the center to help with additional needs.
    • FEMA will work with those sitting shivah to accommodate any specific logistical needs.
  • FEMA, the American Red Cross, and local and state partners are also conducting outreach to survivors and families who are staying in local hotels to help them begin the assistance process.
  • If you are unable to apply in person, call FEMA at 800-621-3362 or TTY: 1-​800-462-7585 to apply.

Is there assistance for me if I voluntarily evacuated from the Champlain Towers North?

  • Individuals who have voluntarily evacuated from other buildings are welcome to visit the Family Assistance Center at the Sea View Hotel at 9909 Collins Avenue to speak with one of the many organizations or agencies assisting the Surfside community.
  • The Family Assistance Center at the Sea View Hotel is open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. The hotline for the Family Assistance Center is 877-777-4066 and the hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
  • If you are unable to visit the Family Assistance Center, you are encouraged to reach out to the City of Surfside.

What do I do if I am not an American citizen and suffered a loss from the collapse?

  • Non-citizen nationals may be eligible for assistance from the many faith-based and philanthropic organizations assisting at the Surfside building collapse, some of which are present at the Family Assistance Center.  
Last updated July 5, 2021