SPRINGFIELD, IL – FEMA urges people in Grundy County who sustained damage during the Nov. 17 tornadoes to register for federal disaster assistance before the Jan. 27 deadline even if they have insurance coverage. Assistance will continue after Jan. 27, but applicants must register by that date to be considered.
Some Grundy County storm survivors may think they will not qualify for federal assistance because they have insurance. This is not necessarily the case. They may still be eligible for assistance in the form of grants from FEMA, which do not have to be paid back, and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
By registering with FEMA, survivors may be eligible for assistance to help cover unexpected, uncovered expenses. For instance, an insurance settlement could be delayed and help is needed to cover rental assistance. Or there could be a delay in moving back into a damaged home, exhausting the Additional Living Expenses provided by insurance. Survivors could also identify additional damage to their home not covered by their insurance policy.
There are three easy ways to register:
- Online: go to DisasterAssistance.gov.
- With a smartphone or tablet: download the FEMA app or go to m.fema.gov.
- By phone: call the FEMA helpline, 800-621-FEMA (3362). People who are deaf or hard of hearing and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. The toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Assistance is available in many languages.
By registering before the deadline, applicants may be eligible for assistance with: temporary housing, home repairs, and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance.
In addition to registering with FEMA, survivors with insurance need to submit their insurance settlement documentation once they receive it. Sending an insurance declaration page is not sufficient. If there are questions on how to obtain this document, applicants should contact their insurance company, or call the FEMA helpline.
Next to insurance, low-interest disaster loans from SBA is the primary funding source for real estate property repairs and replacing lost contents following a disaster like a tornado.
Homeowners may be eligible for low-interest loans of up to $200,000 to repair or rebuild their homes. Homeowners and renters may be eligible to borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property, including automobiles damaged or destroyed in the disaster.
Applicants should not wait on an insurance settlement before returning the SBA low-interest disaster loan application. Insurance may not pay for all of the storm-related damage. Survivors can begin their recovery immediately with an SBA disaster loan. The loan balance will be reduced by their insurance settlement.
Applicants can complete the disaster loan application online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Questions can be answered by calling the SBA customer service center at 800-659-2955. People who are deaf or hard of hearing and use a TTY can call 800-877-8339. More information is available at sba.gov.
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. Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
SBA is the federal government’s primary source of funding for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).
FEMA News Desk: 217-522-2080