FEMA: Non-U.S. Citizens May be Eligible for Disaster Assistance

LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) – Arkansas storm survivors who are in the United States legally, but who are not U.S. citizens, may be eligible for disaster assistance for damage from the tornadoes and severe storms that hit Arkansas on April 27, according to officials from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“We want to help everyone who may qualify for disaster assistance, regardless of their national origin,” said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell of ADEM. “We encourage anyone in Faulkner, Pulaski, Randolph and White Counties who might be eligible for disaster assistance to apply.”

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals or qualified aliens to receive federal monetary assistance. The legal status of qualified aliens will not be jeopardized by applying for aid.

Qualified aliens include:
  • Individuals with Lawful Permanent Residency (holders of “green cards”);
  • Persons with refugee or asylum status;
  • Persons whose deportation has been withheld;
  • Persons on parole in the U.S. for at least one year for humanitarian purposes;
  • Persons with conditional entry;
  • Cuban or Haitian entrants; and
  • Persons with petitions for relief based on domestic violence against spouses or children;
  • Persons subjected to severe forms of human trafficking, including those with "T" and "U" visas.
Disaster assistance may also be available if someone in the household is entitled to it. For example, a parent or guardian who is not eligible for assistance can still apply on behalf of a minor child who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien. The guardian only certifies for the child. Additionally, low-interest disaster assistance loans for homeowners, renters and businesses may be available from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Undocumented immigrants from a household with no one eligible for FEMA assistance may still be eligible for assistance from voluntary agencies that deliver humanitarian services without regard to citizenship or immigration status. They may also be eligible for short-term, non-cash aid from FEMA, such as disaster legal services.

“Even if people are in doubt, they should still apply,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Timothy J. Scranton. “FEMA will work with them to determine their eligibility.”

To register for FEMA assistance, tornado survivors can call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual registration assistance is available at both numbers. Survivors may also apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. By smartphone or tablet, use m.fema.gov.

The deadline to apply for Individual Assistance is June 30.

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