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October 14, 2008

Governor Blagojevich Announces Unemployment Assistance, Food Stamps for Northern Illinois Flood Stricken Counties
Applications available Wednesday at local Illinois Department of Human Services and Department of Employment Security offices

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the federal government has authorized the Illinois Department Employment Security (IDES) and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to offer special Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Disaster Food Stamp Programs for residents of seven counties declared federal disaster areas in the aftermath of the recent flooding.


“Like we saw in downstate Illinois earlier this year, the recent floods in Cook and the Collar Counties have had a devastating effect on many families,” said Governor Blagojevich. “While it may take a long time for flood victims to replace what they lost, they also have more immediate needs such as employment, food, clothing and shelter, and that’s where we can step in and provide help right now. I am pleased that the USDA quickly approved this assistance so that Illinoisans can meet their basic needs as they try to recover from the devastating floods.”  


Individuals may be eligible for these programs if they live or work in the following counties declared disaster areas by President George Bush on October 3: Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Grundy, LaSalle and Will Counties.


Disaster Unemployment Insurance (DUA)

Disaster Unemployment Insurance (DUA) is available for individuals who either reside or were employed in the disaster area, who are unemployed as a direct result of the disaster designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and who are not eligible for any other unemployment insurance program.  Applications must be filed by November 8, 2008.


Individuals can generally receive up to 26 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 may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance must file a claim at their nearest Illinois Department of Employment Security office. For office locations, call IDES at 888-367-4382.


Disaster Food Stamp Program

Special applications for the Disaster Food Stamp Program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services are available at (IDHS) Family Community Resource Centers (FCRC) located in the following counties that were designated as federal disaster areas: Parts of Cook County, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Grundy, LaSalle and Will Counties.  People living in Grundy County are served by the FCRC in LaSalle County.


Individuals who may be eligible for Disaster Food Stamps must file a claim at their nearest Illinois Department of Human Services office. For office locations, call IDHS at 800-843-6154. Applications will be accepted Wednesday October 8 through Friday, October 17 from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. each day. 


Illinois residents who lived or worked in a disaster area in one of these counties at the time of the disaster may qualify for the Disaster Food Stamp.  To qualify, they must have experienced an adverse effect from the disaster, including damage to home or business, food loss, disaster-related expenses not reimbursed, loss or reduction of income, or inaccessibility of assets.


Disaster Food Stamps will be provided to families based on cash resources available to a household during the disaster.  Non-reimbursed disaster-related expenses are allowed as a deduction from cash resources.  A 4-person family with a maximum allowable income of $2,328 would receive $565 in food stamps.  A qualifying 3-person family would receive $445 and 2 persons $311.  Most benefits will be available within 3 days of the date of application.


Persons on the regular Food Stamp Program that were affected by the disaster are also encouraged to apply for this special program because they may qualify for additional food stamp benefits to bring their benefit level up to the maximum benefit amount for the month of the disaster.


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