Springfield, Ill. -- A toll-free application telephone number is now operational for those who suffered property damage or loss in the declared counties affected by the tornadoes and storms between March 11 and 13, 2006.
Ron Sherman, federal coordinating officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and William Burke, state coordinating officer and director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said those affected by the disaster may apply for assistance immediately by calling this toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice. Those with speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 1-800-462-7585. You may also register on-line at www.fema.gov.
In response to a request from Governor Rod R. Blagojevich for federal aid to help meet the recovery needs of stricken residents and business owners, President Bush signed a major disaster declaration for Sangamon County.
The declaration makes residents of Sangamon County eligible for a wide range of programs such as funding for temporary disaster housing assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans for individuals and business owners to repair or replace damaged property, replacement grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs, and disaster unemployment assistance.
"Your phone call is your application for both state and federal assistance available under the disaster declaration. Telephone application has proven to be the simplest, quickest, most efficient and confidential way to apply," Sherman 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;
- If insured, the name of your company or agent and your policy number;
- General financial information; and
- Bank account coding if you wish to speed up your assistance with direct deposit
"Don't prejudge your eligibility, even if you don't have all the information necessary or it was lost in the storms. It's important that all residents get the assistance available to them as quickly as possible," Burke said. "Even if you have already registered with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army or another voluntary agency or have reported damage to county or local officials, you can apply for the federal assistance programs only by calling FEMA's toll-free number."
FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss. If you have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy. Residents should contact their insurance agent first, then if they have unmet needs they should call FEMA to apply. 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 to you when you call.
In addition, Greene, Logan, Morgan, Scott and Sangamon counties are eligible in the Presidential disaster declaration to receive federal funding for affected local governments to pay 75 percent of eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities. Federal funds are also available 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 e...