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Non U.S. Citizens May Be Eligible To Receive Disaster Assistance

Release date: 
October 31, 2016
Release Number: 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Monday, Oct. 31) – South Carolina residents who are not U.S. citizens may be eligible for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recover from Hurricane Matthew storm and flood damage.

The aid is available to citizens, non-citizen nationals, and qualified aliens. Qualified aliens include those with legal permanent residence (Green Card holders). Their status will not be jeopardized by requesting disaster assistance.

A non-citizen parent or guardian who isn’t eligible may register for assistance on behalf of a U.S. born child under age 18, including a new-born, who is a citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien. No information will be gathered on the parent or guardian’s status.

When registering for disaster assistance, FEMA requires applicants to certify whether they are citizens, non-citizen nationals or qualified aliens.

The status of a qualified alien includes:

  • Legal permanent residents (those with Green Cards);
  • Those with refugee or asylum status;
  • Those whose deportation has been withheld;
  • Those on parole into the U.S. for at least one year for humanitarian purposes;
  • Those with conditional entry;
  • Those who are Cuban-Haitian entrants; and
  • Those with petitions for relief based on battery or extreme cruelty by a family member.

FEMA conducts random audits of applications to verify U.S. citizenship and qualified alien documentation issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. However, assistance can be given as long as someone in the household is entitled to it, and no information will be gathered regarding the status of others in the household.

Undocumented immigrants from a household with no one eligible for cash assistance from FEMA may still be eligible for programs run by state, local or voluntary agencies.

Assistance for eligible individuals and small businesses includes funds for temporary housing and necessary home repairs, individual and household grants, disaster unemployment assistance, low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration and other programs.

All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).

You can  receive weather alerts, safety tips and learn about disaster resources by downloading the free FEMA App, available for Apple, Android, and Blackberry mobile devices. Visit for more information.

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. Follow us on Twitter at and the FEMA Blog at

The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster- damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing, or visiting SBA’s website at Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:02