Americans from every walk of life have experienced the challenges of rebuilding their lives after a disaster or other emergency. These stressful circumstances make having access to your banking, insurance, medical, and other records crucial for the process of recovery without frustrating delay. Take the time now to collect and secure your critical information to give you peace of mind.
Here is a list to get you started with information from ready.gov:
1. Gather financial and critical personal, household, and medical information.
2. Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. It is important to have small bills on hand because ATM’s and credit cards may not work during a disaster when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.
3. Obtain property (homeowners or renters), health, and life insurance if you do not have them. Review existing policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is what is required for you and your family for all possible hazards.
4. Scroll down for more helpful financial preparedness tips and download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) to get started planning today.
The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), a joint publication from Operation Hope and FEMA’s Citizen Corps, to help you prepare financially and provide tips to reduce the impact disasters can leave you with financially.
Using the EFFAK as a guide, or by downloading a secure mobile app on your phone, store important documents either in a safety deposit box, an external drive, on the cloud to make it easy to access during a disaster.
• Photo ID to prove identity of household members
• Birth certificate to maintain or re-establish contact with family members
• Social security card to apply for FEMA disaster assistance
• Military service
• Pet ID tags
Financial and Legal Documentation
• Housing Payments to identify financial records and obligations
• Insurance policies to re-establish financial accounts
• Sources of income to maintain payments and credit
• Tax statements to provide contact information for financial and legal providers & apply for FEMA disaster assistance
• Physician information to provide doctors with health information if medical care is needed
• Copies of health insurance information to ensure existing care continues uninterrupted
• Immunization records
Household Contact information
• Banking intuitions
• Insurance agent
• Health professionals
• Service providers
• Place of worship
Get your benefits electronically
A disaster can disrupt mail service for days or weeks. If you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits, switching to electronic payments is a simple, significant way to protect yourself financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:
• Direct deposit to a checking or savings account. Federal benefit recipients can sign up by calling (800) 333-1795 or sign up online
• The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative to paper