Federal Disaster Assistance to Help Unemployed

​December 3, 2013

Residents in 15 Illinois Counties Might be Eligible
CHICAGO – Individuals and business owners out of work as a direct result of tornadoes and high winds on Nov. 17 might be eligible for federal disaster unemployment assistance, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) said today.

The disaster unemployment assistance is part of a series of programs available after President Barack Obama agreed to Gov. Pat Quinn’s request of a federal disaster declaration. Two EF4 tornadoes killed at least seven people and injured many more. Twenty-four tornados were reported. The tornadoes and wind destroyed or damaged at least 2,441 homes, left thousands of people without power and closed miles of roads until power lines, trees and other debris could be safely removed.

The counties declared disaster areas are Champaign, Douglas, Fayette, Grundy, Jasper, LaSalle, Massac, Pope, Tazewell, Vermillion, Wabash, Washington, Wayne, Will and Woodford counties. Individuals whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of tornados might be eligible for financial assistance. The federal disaster declaration enables people in the area to access temporary housing, grants or loans to help with losses. Businesses might qualify for low-interest loans.

Applications are available at IDES offices. Office locations are below. Office locations also are available by calling IDES at (800) 244-5631 and at https://ides.illinois.gov/about/locations.html. Internet access is available at Illinois libraries and WorkNet centers. Deadline to apply is January 2, 2014. 

To apply, individuals will need their Social Security number; the name and address of their employer; and proof that tornados interrupted the opportunity to work. A copy of the most recent federal income tax forms or check stub might also be required. Self-employed individuals also should provide Schedules SE and Schedule C or Schedule F from their tax returns.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency designated this disaster FEMA-DR-4157. Individuals generally can receive benefits as long as their unemployment continues to be a result of this disaster. Eligibility for benefits will be determined on a week-to-week basis. Maximum eligibility is 27 weeks.

IDES supports economic stability by administering unemployment benefits, collecting business contributions to fund those benefits, connecting employers with qualified job seekers, and providing economic information to assist career planning and economic development.

Applications for DUA must be filed by January 2, 2014. 

To be eligible for DUA benefits under Presidential Disaster Declaration FEMA-DR-4157, individuals: 
Must be unemployed or self-unemployed whose unemployment was caused as a direct result of the major disaster declared by the President;
Must be a U.S. national or a qualified alien; and
Must not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits from any state; and
Must have worked or were self-employed in, or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment in, one of the counties listed above; and
Must establish that the work or self-employment they cannot perform was their primary source of income. 

Also eligible to apply for DUA are individuals who 
Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of a disaster; or 
Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster; or
Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of the disaster; or
Cannot work or perform self-employment due to a closure of a facility by the federal government.

Individuals will need their Social Security number and the name and address of their last employer or prospective employer to file for DUA. Applicants are required to provide proof (at the time of filing or within 21 days of filing the DUA claim) that they were employed or self-employed at the time the disaster occurred or were scheduled to begin (or resume) a job or self-employment when the disaster occurred. A copy of the most recent federal income tax forms or check stubs might also be required. Self-employed individuals also should provide Schedules SE and Schedule C or Schedule F.

Applications filed after January 2, 2014 will be considered untimely unless the individual provides good cause. Individuals generally can receive up to 27 weeks of DUA benefits as long as his/her unemployment continues to be a result of the disaster. Eligibility for DUA benefits will be determined on a week-to-week basis.

Individuals who might be eligible for assistance must file a claim with the Illinois Department of Employment Security. IDES offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

IDES Office Locations
1307 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign

1300 S. 9th St., Springfield

2311 Hoffman Drive, Effingham

1550 First Avenue – South Towne Mall, Ottawa

250 N. Chicago St., Joliet

8195 Express Drive, Marion

406 Elm Street, Peoria

207 E. Hamilton Road, Bloomington

333 Potomac Blvd, Suite E, Mt. Vernon

1010 Dixie Highway, Chicago Heights
Other IDES offices can be found at https://ides.illinois.gov/about/locations.html 

Federal assistance also might be available. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers assistance programs, has a toll-free telephone number (800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) for hearing and speech impaired) for victims to apply for assistance. Registration also can be done online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
Available assistance to people and businesses in the 15 approved counties affected by the Nov. 17 storms include: 

  • Grants of up to $32,400 to help with disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance and other aid programs, such as replacement of personal property and transportation, medical, dental and funeral expenses. 
  • Low-interest loans for up to $200,000 for homeowners to cover uninsured property losses, including repair or replacement of homes, vehicles, clothing or other damaged personal property. Renters and homeowners can receive loans of up to $40,000 to replace damaged or destroyed personal property, such as clothing, furniture, appliances, vehicles, etc. 
  • Crisis counseling, legal aid and assistance with income tax, Social Security and Veteran benefits. 
  • Businesses and private not-for-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. Loans also are available to some businesses for economic losses. 
Governor Quinn is committed to helping communities across Illinois recover following the deadly storms on Nov. 17. For more information about disaster recovery resources, including shelters and ways to help tornado survivors, visit ready.illinois.gov​