DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. -- Even if Illinois residents have previously reported damage to local officials or filled out county damage assessment forms, they could be missing out on financial help if they do not apply for disaster assistance, state and federal officials warn.
Although earlier local and county reports were used for the damage assessment process, they are not an application for federal assistance. Residents must contact the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) directly to be considered for federal disaster grant assistance.
Residents of Carroll, Cook, DuPage, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago counties are eligible to apply. More than 65,469 Illinois residents have already done so and more than $123.8 million has been approved in grants to date.
The easiest way to apply is to go online to www.disasterassistance.gov, or call 1 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800 462-7585. Toll-free phone lines are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and multilingual assistance is available.
Have information at hand when you apply — current address and phone number, the address of the damaged property, your Social Security number, the names of the people that make up your household, and information about your income and any insurance.
Apply with FEMA, even if you are insured. By law, assistance grants cannot duplicate insurance benefits, but insurance may not cover all your damage. By the time you find this out, it may be too late to apply for federal assistance.
Disaster Recovery Centers offer face-to-face help for those needing assistance with their FEMA application or further information about recovery programs. Centers are at the Stephenson County Highway Administration building on Lamm Road in Freeport, the Cicero Public Safety Building at 5410 W. 34th St. in Cicero, St. Joseph High School at 1840 Mayfair Ave. (west entrance) in Westchester, and in the former Old Navy building at Washington Square in the Austin area of Chicago.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.