Disaster Assistance for Noncitizens | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is disaster assistance?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may provide grants to help pay for rent, emergency home repairs, personal property replacement, and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other sources.

Low-interest disaster recovery loans may be available from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.


Who is eligible?

A federal disaster declaration made Individual Assistance available to homeowners and renters who live in designated counties in Texas and had damages from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding from May 4 to June 19, 2015.

To be eligible for assistance from FEMA, at least one person in the household must be a U.S. citizen, Qualified Alien or noncitizen national with a Social Security number.

Disaster assistance may be available to a household if a parent or guardian applies on behalf of a minor child who is a U.S. citizen or a Qualified Alien. The adult must provide the child’s birth certificate and Social Security card.


Who is a Qualified Alien?

The most common type of Qualified Alien is a Lawful Permanent Resident, defined as someone holding a “Green Card.” Green Card holders have been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.

Others include those to whom the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has granted legal resident status because of:

  • Asylum
  • Refugee status
  • Parole into the U.S. for at least one year
  • Withholding of deportation
  • Immigration from Cuba or Haiti
  • Severe forms of human trafficking, including persons with “T” and “U” visas
  • Domestic violence

To confirm your immigration status, consult an immigration expert. Other immigration information can be found online at http://www.uscis.gov/.


How do I apply?

FEMA offers several ways to apply for assistance:

  • What documents do I need to apply? Go online at DisasterAssistance.gov or DisasterAssistance.gov/es for Spanish.
  • Call 800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone number will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual specialists are available.
  • Disaster assistance applicants who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 800-462-7585 directly.
  • For those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.
  • Visit a FEMA Mobile Disaster Recovery Intake Center or state-FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in your area.


To apply for help from FEMA, homeowners and renters may need to provide:

  • A general description of their damages from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding from May 4 to June 19, 2015.
  • The address where the damages occurred.
  • If you are a homeowner, proof of ownership.
  • Current contact information.
  • A utility bill to show proof of occupancy.
  • The Social Security number of someone in your household who is an eligible U.S. citizen, Qualified Alien or noncitizen national. FEMA does NOT collect information on the immigration status of other household members.
  • Any insurance policy that covers your losses, such as homeowners, flood or automobile, and proof of any settlements.

Financial information, such as total annual household income at the time of the disaster.