The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied Illinois' appeal for individual aid for 22 counties affected by spring's severe weather and major flooding. Because of that denial, the state is asking the Small Business Administration for a disaster declaration.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency announced the decision to seek the SBA disaster declaration in a news release sent Friday. 

If approved, IEMA says the disaster declaration would help 1.4 million Illinois residents. It would allow households and business owners in approved counties and contiguous counties to apply for grants and low-interest, long-term loans. 

While FEMA denied the appeal for assistance for individuals, IEMA says so far the federal government has approved public assistance funds for 28 counties through a program that provides grants for state and local governments, nonprofit organizations and houses of worship after disasters. Under the public assistance program, local governments can be reimbursed for up to 75% of eligible disaster recovery costs. IEMA says Illinois stands to receive an estimated $45.7 million, based on $61 million in losses found during preliminary damage assessments. Of that total, IEMA says FEMA has already committed $1.3 million to launch the public assistance program in Illinois.  

Public assistance is available in Adams, Alexander, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Fulton, Greene, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jackson, Jersey, Knox, Lee, Madison, Mercer, Monroe, Morgan, Pike, Randolph, Rock Island, Schuyler, Scott, St. Clair, Stephenson, Union and Whiteside counties.