CHICAGO – Area residents impacted by storms and floods over the summer can now take advantage of the recent federal disaster declared by President Joe Biden by obtaining assistance for uninsured or underinsured losses. Aid is available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through October 16 at 11:59 p.m. CT.
“Many of our neighbors and community members are still struggling with the aftereffects of this summer’s severe weather, and in too many cases, insurance isn’t fully making them whole,” said state Rep. Michael J. Kelly, D-Chicago. “Before the recent federal declaration, FEMA assistance wasn’t available, but if you were told you weren’t eligible before, you should now check again. Federal aid may be able to cover some or all of what your insurance doesn’t.”
Impacted residents who have insurance coverage must first file a claim. Those with uninsured or underinsured losses may contact FEMA either online at disasterassistance.gov, by downloading the FEMA app or by calling FEMA’s Helpline at 800-621-3362.
Applicants will need a current phone number where they can be reached, the address where they lived at the time of the disaster as well as that of their current residence if it is different, their social security number or that of the affected person if applying on their behalf, a list of the damage and losses, banking information if asking for a direct deposit and, if insured, the policy number and the agent’s or company’s name. One member of a household must be a U.S. citizen for that household to be eligible. Non-citizen parents, for example, can apply on behalf of a minor child who is a citizen.
Applicants should expect a FEMA investigator to reach out to perform an in-person inspection of the damaged address. It is advised that this call may come from an out-of-state phone number. Applicants will be assigned an application number, and will need to have this on-hand for the inspector.
Inspectors will have credentials and will ask to see a photo ID when meeting with applicants, as well as documents to verify home ownership or legal occupancy.
Inspectors do not make the decision as to whether assistance will be offered. Applicants should beware of anyone claiming to be a FEMA inspector who asks for money or banking information. Applicants should only provide that information during their application and not thereafter. The legitimacy of a FEMA visit can be verified by calling the Helpline above. Decisions will be by letter or email within 10 days after the inspection.