The state of Illinois is being denied public assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the November tornadoes that ripped through more than a dozen communities, but FEMA officials say this isn't the end of their aid.
Governor Pat Quinn has 30 days to appeal the denial, and when he's ready, state and FEMA officials will revisit and reassess the communities hit by the tornadoes, including hard-hit Washington, Illinois.
In the initial inspection, $6 million in damage was listed statewide. That is $11 million below the federal threshold that would qualify the state to get public assistance.
But, FEMA continues to provide individual assistance, giving about $2 million in grants to survivors so far.
The Small Business Administration, which works with FEMA in disaster relief efforts, has awarded another $10 million in low interest loans.
FEMA officials say it is important to register for help and to try again if you are denied.
"Actually, we encourage everybody, whether it's a state official or a local survivor, if you don't get from FEMA what you think you should get or qualify for, then we always encourage people to appeal," Tim Tyson, a FEMA spokesperson, explained when we reached him by phone on Sunday.
Tyson says FEMA's role is to work with the state and local partners, so if the governor wants to appeal, they will support him.
The state's ability to respond to the disaster, as well as the severity and magnitude of the event, are taken into account when assessing damage.
FEMA officials say they think several hundred Illinois tornado survivors still haven't registered for assistance. That's free money they could be passing up.
Registration is open until January 27, 2014.
Other organizations, including the Red Cross, are also providing aid.