Springfield, Ill. – This capsule of recent disaster recovery information is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Don’t let misinformation keep you from registering for disaster assistance.
Sometimes unexpected, uninsured expenses arise weeks or even months after a disaster. For example, you might identify additional damage to your home in the spring when temperatures rise and contractors are able to conduct a more comprehensive inspection. If your insurance settlement is delayed, you may qualify for temporary rental assistance if your home is uninhabitable. Or you may exhaust the additional living expenses provided by your insurance company. FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration disaster assistance may help cover some of these expenses.
Registering with FEMA is quick and easy. You should register even if you have insurance and regardless of your income level or the level of damage your home sustained. Register online at DisasterAssistance.gov, with a mobile device by using the FEMA app or going to m.fema.gov, or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362). People who are deaf or hard of hearing and use a TTY can call 800-462-7585.
SBA low-interest disaster loans are a major recovery funding source for Illinois.
If you apply for assistance with FEMA and are referred to the SBA, it’s important to submit a low-interest disaster loan application to assure that the federal disaster recovery process continues. You are not obligated to accept a loan, but failure to complete and submit the application may stop the FEMA grant process. Homeowners may be eligible for loans up to $200,000 for repairs. Homeowners and renters may be eligible to borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. For businesses, loans are available up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged real estate, and other business assets. Eligible small businesses and non-profits can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.
You can apply online at DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ela. For additional information about SBA low-interest disaster loans, contact the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955 or TTY 800-877-8339, emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or visiting sba.gov/disaster.
Rental assistance is available if you have been displaced as a result of the storms.
If you are making repairs to or rebuilding your home, you may be eligible for assistance from FEMA to cover temporary rental expenses if your home is uninhabitable – but you must register with FEMA to be considered. Call 800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit a Disaster Recovery Center if you have questions or need help finding a rental property. You can also go Nestrent.com or IlHousingSearch.org to identify available rental properties.
FEMA decision letters are not the end of the line for disaster assistance.
After registering with FEMA, you will receive a letter explaining the status of your application. The letter may state that you’re ineligible for assistance, but this isn’t necessarily a final decision. It is important to read the entire letter carefully because it states exactly what needs to be submitted for potential federal assistance. If you have insurance, you must submit all of your insurance information for FEMA to review your eligibility. Sending your insurance declaration page is not sufficient. You need to submit actual insurance settlement information. If you are unsure of how to obtain this document, contact your insurance company, call the FEMA helpline (800-621-FEMA) or visit a Disaster Recovery Center. Insurance documents will be reviewed, then an inspector may arrange a visit to the damaged home or apartment to determine if there are uninsured, eligible losses. Federal disaster assistance may assist in covering some expenses not covered by insurance. You can appeal FEMA’s decision. Appeals must be filed within 60 days of the date of the determination letter. More information is available by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or by taking the letter to a Disaster Recovery Center. You can locate the nearest center by going to fema.gov/drclocator.
Help is available to repair damaged vehicles.
If you had a vehicle damaged or destroyed in one of the counties affected by the Nov. 17 Illinois tornadoes, you may be eligible for federal disaster assistance. Even if you are not a resident of one of the designated counties, you may still be eligible for this assistance if you were working or visiting one of the counties. You must register with FEMA to be considered for eligibility. In addition to FEMA assistance, homeowners and renters may be eligible to borrow up to $40,000 through SBA’s low-interest disaster loan program to repair or replace personal property, including automobiles damaged or destroyed in the disaster.
Illinois recovery photos and videos available
Visit fema.gov/disasters/4157 to access FEMA’s online library of photos and videos documenting response and recovery efforts to the Nov. 17 storms and tornadoes in Illinois. The page also includes updated information and important messages regarding Illinois’ recovery.
NEWS DESK: 217-522-2080