12 North Florida Counties Approved for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (05/01/09)

For Immediate Release 
May 1, 2009  

Contact:
Robby Cunningham (850) 245-7130

 

12 North Florida Counties Approved for Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Tallahassee, FL – Pursuant to Governor Charlie Crist’s requests for federal individual assistance, the Agency for Workforce Innovation has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to help the people of Florida’s Panhandle area recover from recent severe storms and flooding.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance helps people who have become unemployed as a direct result of a declared disaster and who do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits.  Effective immediately, the federal government has approved DUA for people in 12 North Florida counties who were affected by these storms.  Those counties currently include: Calhoun, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Lafayette, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Walton and Washington. Funding may be requested for additional counties as further damage assessments are made.

“We are committed to ensuring that the people affected by the recent flooding in the Florida Panhandle receive the aid necessary to recover,” said Cynthia R. Lorenzo, Interim Director of the Agency for Workforce Innovation.  “Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides financial support to citizens in 12 counties whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted by these storms.”

Many workers will be eligible for the state’s regular unemployment compensation program; those who are not may be eligible for DUA.  The DUA program also covers self-employed individuals, owners and workers of farms and ranches, as well as fishers and others who are not normally covered by state unemployment compensation.

WHO CAN APPLY
Individuals who:

  • Have exhausted entitlement to state unemployment compensation; and
  • Have been working or residing in a county for which the disaster has been officially declared; and either: 
  • Become unemployed as a direct result of a declared disaster; or
  • Are unable to reach their place of employment as a direct result of the disaster; or
  • Were scheduled to begin work and do not have a job or are unable to reach the job as a direct result of the disaster; or
  • Have become the major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of the disaster; or
  • Cannot work because of an injury caused directly by the disaster.

HOW TO APPLY
Individuals may:

  • File online: www.floridajobs.org or www.fluidnow.com  
  • File by telephone at 800-204-2418, M-F 7:30 AM to 7 PM and SAT 8 AM to 4 PM
  • Obtain information about applying for DUA at any Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in the state.  

Information required when filing:

  • Social Security number (SSN) 
  • Alien registration number and expiration date (if a non-U.S. citizen) 
  • Name and address of most recent employer(s) 
  • Name and address of employer and date work was to begin (for those scheduled to begin work but could not, due to the disaster)  
  • If self-employed, you must have proof of self-employment, to include:

    1. State or federal tax returns
    2. Financial statements
    3. Bank records of accounts or 1099 Forms
    4. Documentation necessary to support a claim may be faxed to 850-921-3938 after filing (applicant’s SSN should appear on all documents)

WHEN TO APPLY

  • No later than June 1, 2009 for DUA claims in: Calhoun, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Lafayette, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Walton and WashingtonCounties;
  • NOTE: DUA benefits are available to unemployed individuals for up to 26 weeks from the date of the disaster declaration.  The 26-week assistance period for this weather event ends September 26, 2009. 

National Emergency Grant - The Agency also announced this week the receipt of a National Emergency Grant, providing up to $3 million to help rebuild local infrastructure (roads and bridges) and to reimburse response costs in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington counties. 
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

An equal opportunity employer/program.  Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
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