FEMA extends deadline to apply for relief

SPRINGFIELD — The deadline to apply for federal disaster aid for people affected by the Nov. 17 tornadoes and severe storms that hit Champaign, Vermilion and Douglas counties has been extended by one week to Feb. 3.

State officials requested the extension Wednesday to enable people affected by tornadoes in the East Central Illinois counties and 12 other federally designated counties to seek grants and loans to help with their recovery. The original deadline was Jan. 27.

To date, more than 2,400 applications for disaster aid have been received from people in the 15 counties. More than $2.3 million in federal grants has been awarded to help people with disaster-related expenses. The Small Business Administration has approved $14.2 million in disaster assistance loans to aid people and businesses.

"I appreciate the Obama administration's quick action on our request to extend the deadline," said Gov. Pat Quinn. "Given the unusually difficult winter weather we've experienced during the registration pperiod, as well as several federal holidays, this seven-day extension is needed to ensure residents have ample opportunity to apply for federal aid."

Registration for disaster aid can be completed online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov, or by phone at 800-621-3362.

State officials also said they are working to compile more information to help with the state's appeal of a FEMA denial of public assistance support for local governments. The state has until Feb. 8 to submit its appeal.

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