The purpose of disaster grants is to provide a small measure of immediate financial assistance to needy eligible beneficiaries, as defined in this section, who are victims of a disaster. A disaster is defined as a “sudden occurrence which inflicts widespread catastrophic damage to a large geographic area and/or which generally affects a large number of individuals”. Disasters can be both natural and caused by human conduct. Examples include, but are not necessarily limited to: civil disorders (excluding acts of war), explosions, fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, tidal waves, forest fires and hurricanes.
Any optometrist who is a victim of a disaster may apply to Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief for a grant. Since the purpose of these grants is to give a measure of immediate or proximate assistance, all requests for such grants shall be made within 2 months of the occurrence of the disaster.
Circumstances Determining Eligibility for Grants:
Criteria for determining eligibility of disaster grants are listed below. Any application for a disaster grant that does not meet all of these criteria will be denied.
a. As a result of the disaster, the applicant must show that he or she suffered property damages.
b. A “disaster” must be declared by a governmental agency, or be determined by the Committee in accordance with the definition provided in paragraph 1 above.
Evaluation of Application and Procedures for Processing:
a. The applicant may obtain an application form either from the Optometry’s Charity™ or from the AOA affiliate in the area where the applicant resides.
b. Upon receiving the application from the applicant the AOA affiliate shall determine and attest that (1) in its judgment, a disaster did occur under the definition provided in these Rules, (2) the disaster was declared by a governmental agency, if applicable, (3) the applicant suffered damages, and (4) the application form is signed by the applicant.
c. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis after evaluating the applicant’s loss and his/her need.
Term of Grant:
Grants for disaster assistance shall be offered only once per applicant per disaster as defined in these Rules.
Amount of Grant:
The grant amount for any disaster applicant shall be determined at the discretion of the Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief Committee based on applicant needs, but shall not exceed $4,000, depending on funds available.