Springfield, IL -- Tornado and severe storm victims in disaster-declared Illinois counties do not need to be concerned that their applications for assistance will reduce the amounts available for their neighbors.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), and voluntary organizations are providing a wide range of programs and services for those affected by the devastating weather of May 6 through May 11. Over 600 Illinois residents have already applied for disaster assistance.
"Don't hesitate to apply for the assistance you may need," Ron Sherman, FEMA's federal coordinating officer, said. "The federal government has allocated sufficient funds for all those in the disaster-affected areas who have eligible losses."
Residents are encouraged to apply for disaster assistance programs, which may include housing assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary expenses not met by other programs.
"Don't prejudge your eligibility," William C. Burke, IEMA's state coordinating officer, said. "We don't want to miss anyone affected by the tornadoes and storms who may need help to begin the recovery process. Tax dollars are set aside specifically for disaster assistance."
Government disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate someone for an entire loss. If individuals have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under an insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other forms of help may come in the form of loans. The FEMA representative will explain the details when applicants call to apply.
The application process is easy, efficient and begins with a single phone call to FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those who are speech or hearing impaired can apply by calling the toll-free number TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available Monday through Saturday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. until further notice.