The summer cooling season has arrived in Illinois and those in areas affected by the April 16 to May 5 storms may be eligible for repair or replacement of heating, ventilation and cooling systems (HVAC) if they were damaged or destroyed by flooding and were not covered by insurance.
“FEMA’s mission includes ensuring that all homes affected by the flooding are habitable,” said W. Michael Moore, federal coordinating officer for the disaster. “In order for homes to be habitable, furnaces and central air conditioning systems must be in good working order.”
Federal disaster assistance may cover the cleaning and testing of a flood-damaged HVAC system and replacement if the unit was destroyed because of storms during the incident period. To be considered, Illinois residents must first register for assistance from FEMA by the Tuesday, July 9 deadline.
Those who discover their HVAC system needs repair or replacement after they already received a FEMA grant for this disaster that did not include money to repair their HVAC system can file an appeal for additional disaster funds. However, the appeal must be made within 60 days of the date of the original grant or determination letter.
When filing an appeal, survivors must submit a letter requesting additional funds and a verifiable estimate or an itemized receipt by a contractor that states that the estimate or actual cost paid is not an upgrade, that the repair was necessary to make the home habitable and is disaster related.
Applicants may be eligible for costs related to the repair or replacement of the furnaces, including the cost for labor. If the furnace is located on the ground-level floor or basement, FEMA encourages the applicant to elevate the unit.
Low interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also cover repairs to HVAC systems. Disaster survivors with insurance should not wait for an insurance settlement before applying to the SBA. If survivors do not know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, the SBA will consider making a loan for the total loss up to its loan limits, provided the borrower agrees to use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay their SBA loan.
It is important that anyone receiving an SBA disaster loan application complete and return it. Returning the application does not obligate you to accept an SBA loan; however, it is a necessary step to be considered for other additional forms of federal disaster assistance.
It is not necessary to visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to register with FEMA. Individuals can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. People who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services (VRS) can call 800-621-3362. For more information visit the Illinois Disaster website www.fema.gov/disaster/4116.
Multilingual phone operators are available on the FEMA helpline. Choose Option 2 for Spanish and Option 3 for other languages.
The deadline to register for FEMA disaster assistance is Tuesday, July 9.
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.