AURORA, Ill. – Illinois households currently receiving rental assistance through FEMA for the severe storms and flooding from April 16 to May 5 must provide the necessary paperwork to recertify for continued rental help in order to ensure no interruption of benefits.
FEMA may pay up to 18 months of rental assistance to both homeowners and renters if they need to relocate while repairs are being made to their disaster-damaged residence. The rental assistance is paid in two-month increments and can include the payment of a security deposit. The security deposit may include a pet deposit fee, but the amount of the security deposit plus the pet deposit fee cannot exceed one month’s rent.
An application for continued temporary housing will be sent to applicants who have received initial rental assistance approximately two weeks after the first rental award. It reaffirms that applicants have an ongoing need for temporary housing, either because disaster-related repairs are not completed or they have been unable to find permanent replacement housing.
Applicants who continue to need rental assistance must express an interest either verbally through the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or in writing within 90 days after receipt of the application. The entire process must be completed within 120 days to be eligible. A new 90- and 120-day limit will begin with each rental recertification, and a new application needs to be filled out each cycle.
Documents required for recertification include:
- The completed application
- A copy of the current lease or rental agreement signed by the applicant
- Rental receipts, canceled checks or money orders showing proper usage of previous rental assistance
- Current income statements from family members living in the rental
The form must be completed in full and turned in on time for each rental cycle to apply for continued assistance.
FEMA will evaluate the information each cycle to determine if the applicant qualifies for ongoing federal rental assistance, based on financial need. An applicant’s current monthly rent is compared to the person’s housing costs before the disaster. Income for all household members, ongoing homeowner mortgage, insurance and utility costs for the damaged home, and other housing commitment costs are all taken into consideration when determining continued eligibility. An applicant who misses one cycle of recertification will not be eligible for continued rental assistance.
It is not necessary to visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to register with FEMA. Individuals can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. People who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services (VRS) can call 800-621-3362. For more information visit the Illinois Disaster website www.fema.gov/disaster/4116.
Multilingual phone operators are available on the FEMA helpline. Choose Option 2 for Spanish and Option 3 for other languages.
The deadline to register for FEMA disaster assistance is Tuesday, July 9.
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.
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