Illinois' Department of Employment Security says people who lost jobs as a direct consequence of the Nov. 17 tornadoes and high winds could qualify for federal unemployment aid.
That option arose after President Barack Obama recently designated parts of the state disaster areas.
Two massive tornados killed seven people and injured many others. Washington was among the hardest hit communities. The state agency said in a Tuesday statement that tornadoes and winds destroyed or damaged more than 2,400 homes.
Individuals can receive benefits as long as their unemployment continues to be a consequence of the storms. Eligibility is determined on a week-to-week basis. The longest period someone can qualify is 27 weeks
The disaster declaration also makes it possible for residents seeking to rebuild to receive grants and loans.