Undocumented Immigrants Can Apply for FEMA Help Thru Citizen Children

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for financial assistance from FEMA but Sandy victims without papers can apply if any member of the household has lawful status, including a child, reports the Sing Tao Daily. The article was translated from Chinese.

The aftermath of Sandy in Coney Island. (Photo by Skyler Reid)

New Yorkers who suffered losses from Hurricane Sandy can still apply for FEMA assistance, but immigrants without lawful status may have difficulties in the application process. However, a FEMA spokesman points out that undocumented disaster victims could apply for assistance on behalf of their child.

Many victims of Sandy are immigrants without papers. FEMA spokesman William L. Rukeyser says that the agency only provides financial assistance to those who have lawful status in the United States, including citizens, green card holders, and refugees who were granted asylum. Applicants must provide evidence of their legal status in order to apply.

But victims without legal status could apply through family members who are here legally. If there is an adult who has legal status, all family members in the same household could apply for aid through him or her.  The applicant is not required to submit information about the immigration status of the rest of the household members.

If there is no adult in the household with legal status, victims could apply on behalf of a minor child that is here legally. In that case, the parents must fill out a form on behalf of their child demonstrating that the minor has legal status. The parents don’t need to provide their immigration status but the child must provide a social security number.

Although Sandy victims without legal status cannot apply for monetary assistance, other emergency programs such as post-disaster counseling are available to them. Those programs do not collect information on immigration status. FEMA encourages all victims of Sandy to call at 1-800-621-3362 to find out what disaster assistance they qualify for.