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Don't Assume You are Not Eligible for Disaster Benefits

Release date: 
September 17, 2007
Release Number: 

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourage every resident affected by recent severe storms and flooding to call and register even if you are not sure you will qualify for assistance.

Many types of assistance are available, including grants for short-term rental needs; grants to make minimal home repairs and low-interest U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to repair major damage and/or replace damaged personal property. Assistance is available in disaster-declared Stephenson and Winnebago Counties to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations. FEMA grants are available to meet serious disaster-related needs not covered by other programs.

Those affected by the severe storms and flooding of Aug. 7 and 8 can register by calling FEMA's helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. Both lines are open 7a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Individuals also can register online at

"Anyone who has had damage could be eligible for assistance, but there's no way to know if they don't register,"said Federal Coordinating Officer Tony Russell.

"Even if disaster victims have reported their damages to local officials, or applied for assistance through other agencies, or have insurance,"said IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III, "they still need to register with FEMA to be eligible for federal and state recovery programs."

Temporary housing assistance from FEMA does not require that an applicant file for an SBA loan. However, an applicant must complete an SBA loan application to be eligible for additional assistance under the part of the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. There are other ONA grants for transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral expenses that do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan to be eligible. FEMA will process applications for housing assistance regardless of whether the applicant has applied for an SBA loan. Eligibility determinations for applicants requesting FEMA's temporary housing assistance will not be held up because the applicant has or has not filled out an SBA application.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:34