OTTAWA, Ill. -- Only two weeks remain for those who have yet to apply for federal and state disaster assistance.
"We will continue to process existing assistance applications, but the deadline to call and apply is Wednesday, June 22," Lee Champagne, federal coordinating officer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said.
Individuals and business owners affected by the severe storms and tornadoes that occurred April 20 - 23 should call and apply as soon as possible by calling FEMA toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The number for those with hearing or speech impairment is TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are operational Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"Don't assume you aren't eligible for assistance," William Burke, director and state coordinating officer with the Illinois State Emergency Management Agency said. "We don't want to miss anyone who has been affected by these weather events who may need help in the recovery process."
More than $3.7 million in grants and low-interest loans have been approved since President Bush issued a major disaster declaration for four counties on April 23. Grants totaling $470,576 have been approved for temporary rental assistant, repairs and replacement, and other needs assistance for more than 200 applicants. More than $ 3.2 million in U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest loans have been approved for 72 homeowners and renters, and 15 business owners.
Even if you have insurance, you may still be eligible for disaster assistance for under-insured losses. However, in order to process an application, FEMA will need the resident's insurance settlement information to avoid any duplication of benefits. Once you receive your final settle contact call toll-free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
Applications may be updated and will continue to be processed after the June 22 deadline, but no additional applications for assistance will be accepted. Helpline representatives (at the numbers listed above) are available to answer questions about assistance or check the status of a caller's application. Multilingual representatives are available when needed.
Assistance available to disaster victims includes grants for temporary disaster housing; repairing disaster-damaged, uninsured homes to a safe and sanitary living condition, and for serious, disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs. The SBA low-interest loans may also be available for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property.
June 22 is the final day to apply for disaster assistance for all those affected by the severe weather events in the disaster-designated counties of Kankakee, LaSalle, Putnam and Will.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.