BATON ROUGE, La. – Hurricane Isaac survivors who are not U.S. citizens but who are in the United States legally may be eligible for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“We don’t want anyone in Louisiana who may qualify for help to miss out on valuable disaster assistance,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Hall of FEMA. “Everyone, even those who are in doubt about their status, should apply and we will determine whether they are eligible.”
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”);
- Those with refugee or asylum status;
- Those whose deportation has been withheld;
- Those on parole in the U.S. for at least one year for humanitarian purposes;
- Those with conditional entry;
- Cuban or Haitian entrants; and
- Those with petitions for relief based on battery or extreme cruelty by a family member.
Noncitizen nationals are people born in an outlying possession of the United States (American Samoa or Swain’s Island) on or after the date the U.S. acquired the possession, or a person whose parents are U.S. noncitizen nationals (subject to certain residency requirements).
Assistance can be given as long as someone in a 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, noncitizen national or qualified alien. The guardian only certifies for the child; no information will be gathered on the adult's status. No information will be gathered regarding the status of other household members.
Undocumented immigrants from a household with no one eligible for federal financial assistance may still be eligible for programs run by state, local or voluntary agencies. They may also be eligible for short-term, non-cash aid from FEMA, such as crisis counseling.
People in Louisiana with uninsured or underinsured losses and damages as a result of Hurricane Isaac who live in the 21 designated parishes can register for disaster assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711 Relay or Video Relay Services may call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are operating from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Under the presidential declaration, disaster assistance is available for individuals in the following parishes: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington and West Feliciana.