SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Anyone unable to work as a result of the October floods, including those who are self-employed, may be eligible for disaster unemployment benefits through the state and federal disaster recovery assistance program. State and federal officials are urging anyone who might qualify to apply as soon as possible for their benefits.
The program is conducted by the Texas Workforce Commission, financed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and administered by the Commission through the U.S. Department of Labor. It went into effect when President Clinton declared the October floods a federal disaster.
"This program extends unemployment coverage to people who would not be eligible for regular state unemployment benefits," said Federal Coordinating Officer Robert E. Hendrix of FEMA. "It can be a real life-saver for self-employed people, farm workers, commission-based employees and individuals who wouldn't be covered otherwise."
With benefits ranging from $99 to $280 a week, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you meet one of the following qualifications:
- Worked or were scheduled to work in the disaster areas, but because of the disaster no longer have a job, a place to work in the area, or cannot get to your place of work because of disaster damage;
- Are prevented from working due to illness or injury resulting from the disaster;
- Become the head of the household and need employment because the head of the household died as a result of the disaster.
Applicants are urged to contact the nearest office of the Texas Workforce Commission from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or call (512) 463-2999 for information. Applicants will need a social security number and should be prepared to provide information about their earnings from their previous federal tax year.
Listed below are the declared counties and the deadline for applying for disaster unemployment benefits in those counties:
|Counties||Deadline to Apply|
|Austin, Bastrop, Bexar, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Colorado, Comal, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Goliad, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Harris, Hays, Jackson, Karnes, Montgomery, Refugio, Travis, Victoria, Waller, Wharton and Wilson||November 30, 1998|
|Atascosa, Brazoria, Galveston, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces and San Jacinto||December 15, 1998|
|Blanco, Jefferson, Medina and San Patricio||To be announced|