Chicago, IL -- A toll-free application telephone number is now operational for those who suffered property damage or loss in the declared counties affected by the flooding that began on April 18. Even if residents have already registered with the Red Cross, Salvation Army or another voluntary agency or have reported damage to local officials, they need to apply for the state and federal assistance now available by calling FEMA's toll-free number.
Robert Colangelo, federal coordinating officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Michael Chamness, state coordinating officer, Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), said those affected by the disaster may apply for assistance immediately by calling this toll-free application number, 1 800 462-9029, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Those with speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 1-800 462-7585.
In response to a request by Governor Ryan, President Bush signed a major disaster declaration on Wednesday, May 9. The declaration designated the counties of Carroll, Hancock, Henderson, Jo Daviess, Rock Island and Whiteside eligible for federal aid to help meet the recovery needs of stricken residents and business owners.
The declaration makes residents of these counties eligible for a wide range of programs such as funding for disaster housing assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious need and necessary expenses not met by other programs.
Residents and business owners that suffered damage or loss and have insurance coverage should first contact their insurance company. If they find they have unmet needs, they should apply for disaster assistance.
"Your phone call is your application for state and federal assistance available under the disaster declaration. Telephone application has proven to be the simplest, quickest and most efficient way to apply," State Coordinating Officer Chamness said.
When calling to apply, have the following information available:
- Your current phone number;
- Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying;
- Your Social Security number, if available;
- A general list of damages and losses you suffered;
- Good directions to the property that was damaged;
- If insured, your insurance policy number or the agent and company name; and,
- General financial information.
According to Chamness, individuals who have suffered damage and have unmet needs are encouraged to call the application number immediately. "Even if you don't have all the information necessary or it was lost in the flooding, don't prejudge your eligibility," he said. "It's important that all residents get the assistance they are entitled to."
Also included in the Presidential disaster declaration is federal funding for the state and affected local governments to pay 75 percent of eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective services related to the disaster. The counties eligible for this type of assistance include: Adams, Calhoun, Carroll, Hancock, Henderson, Jo Daviess, Mercer, Pike, Rock Island and Whiteside. In addition, the declaration provides funding to all Illinois counties for cost-sharing of expenses for approved projects that can reduce future disaster risk.
DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM INFORMATION
When disaster strikes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administers a number of disaster assistance programs and coordinates the efforts of many other federal ...