REGARDLESS OF IMMIGRATION STATUS

Soudelor survivors should still register for FEMA assistance

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All those who sustained damage from Typhoon Soudelor should register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If you are unsure of your eligibility, FEMA will walk you through the process when you register.

FEMA Individual Assistance is available to U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, and qualified aliens who have disaster-related damages on Saipan. The majority of qualified aliens are those with legal permanent residence (commonly called “green cards”), but there are other types of statuses that fit the definition of “qualified alien.”

The definition of qualified alien, by law, does NOT include temporary workers living on the island. However, any applicant, including CW-1: CNMI-Only Transitional Workers, who has a qualifying person—such as a minor child who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien—in their household may be eligible for FEMA assistance.

Regardless of worker classification or immigration status, all survivors are eligible for short-term, non-cash, in-kind emergency disaster relief programs such as:

• Assistance from voluntary agencies;
• FEMA Community Service Programs, such as Disaster Legal Services and Crisis Counseling;
• Emergency assistance, such as emergency food and water; and
• Emergency food stamps.

Even when applicants are found ineligible for certain assistance because of their immigration status, an applicant specialist will discuss their unmet needs and refer them to programs run by voluntary organizations that may be able to provide assistance.

“It’s much better to register,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Stephen M. DeBlasio Sr. “If applicants turn out to be ineligible, registering has cost them nothing but a very small amount of time. If survivors who would have been eligible do not register, they stand to lose whatever assistance we might have been able to give them—including referrals to other organizations.”

Survivors are encouraged to apply for assistance by calling 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 800-621-3362 to register. Online registration is also available at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Business owners can also contact the U.S. Small Business Administration Customer Service Center 800-659-2955. (FEMA)

Obet Aguilar

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