Thursday, April 30, 2009

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Information

For Immediate Release:
Contact Person and Phone Number: April 29, 2009
Kimberly Friedman (501) 682-3125

Disaster Unemployment Assistance available for individuals affected by severe storms, tornadoes

LITTLE ROCK – Individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of the severe storms and tornadoes that began in three Arkansas counties on April 9, 2009, may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, according to Artee Williams, the director of the Department of Workforce Services.

At the request of Gov. Mike Beebe, President Barrack Obama declared Miller, Polk and Sevier counties as federal disaster areas authorized for DUA. Individuals who have temporarily lost jobs in these three counties because of the disaster and do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits or Extended Benefits (such as self-employed individuals) may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, which provides unemployment benefits up to 26 weeks under Presidential Disaster Declaration FEMA 1834-DR.

The first possible week of compensation for DUA purposes was the week ending April 18, 2009, and the last possible week of compensation is the week ending October 31, 2009.

DUA claims may be filed at the following DWS offices:

Miller County Texarkana Local Office,
1702 Hampton Road
(870) 216-4011

Polk County Mena Local Office,
601 C Highway 71 North
(479) 394-3060

Sevier County Texarkana Local Office,
1702 Hampton Road
(870) 216-4011

Claims must be filed between April 30, 2009, and May 29, 2009, at DWS offices from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. DWS offices will also provide re-employment assistance where appropriate. Claims filed after the deadline will be considered untimely and benefits denied, unless the individual provides good cause for filing after that date.

To be eligible for benefits, individuals must have worked or have been scheduled to work in the disaster area, but because of the disaster, they no longer have a job, a place to work in the area or could not get to their place of work because of disaster damage.

They also may qualify if they have been prevented from working because of an injury or illness resulting from the disaster or if they have become the head of household and need employment because the head of the household died as a result of the disaster.

This benefit also may be available to self-employed individuals who have lost all or part of their livelihood as a result of the disaster.Each claim is considered individually; therefore, individuals who believe they may be eligible should bring their Social Security card, the name and address of their last place of employment and documents verifying income, such as income tax statements, pay stubs, W-2 forms or 2008 federal income tax forms (Schedule SE and Schedule C or Schedule F) for self-employed individuals.

All DUA applicants must provide documentation within 21 days from the day the claim is filed indicating an employment record at the time of the disaster or verification of the weeks the applicant was scheduled to work.

DWS officials understand that because of property losses, some claimants may not have the necessary 2008 income information. Although some delays may result without this information, DWS staff will make every effort to work with DUA claimants to confirm their income information and expedite the claims-taking procedure.

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