LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual Assistance program’s grant funds are restricted to people living legally in the U.S. However, parents may apply for Individual Assistance on behalf of a child who is a U.S. citizen or a qualified immigrant. Another adult household member may qualify for household assistance if that individual is a legal immigrant.
FEMA grant funds for disaster-related losses are available to eligible: 1) U.S. citizens; 2) non-citizen nationals; and 3) qualified immigrants living legally in the U.S. FEMA inspectors checking damage to homes and property will ask the applicant to sign a Declaration and Release form stating that he or she is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or a qualified immigrant.
The qualified immigrant category includes:
- Lawful permanent residents (they possess a “green card”)
- Those with refugee or asylum status
- Immigration “parolees” (people admitted to the U.S. temporarily for humanitarian purposes even if they don’t yet technically qualify for legal immigrant status)
- Those with conditional entry
- Those who have petitioned for relief based on battery or extreme cruelty by a family member
- Cuban-Haitian entrants.
Eligibility for FEMA programs is determined at the time of registration. Those unsure of their immigration status should consult an immigration expert.
Non-profit and voluntary agencies like the American Red Cross and faith-based charities may also provide help to undocumented disaster survivors.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.