PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- New Jersey residents unemployed as a result of Tropical Storm Floyd are eligible to file for federal disaster unemployment benefits, state and federal disaster recovery officials said today.
This program extends coverage only to people who would otherwise be ineligible for unemployment compensation under the regular state program, Lt. Ed O'Neil, state coordinating officer, said.
The special assistance program was triggered following President Clinton's declaration of Bergen, Essex, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Pasaic, Somerset, and Union counties as disaster areas. It provides unemployment benefits for self-employed agricultural and hourly paid workers, those on salary, and other categories of workers that do not qualify for standard unemployment compensation benefits, Pete Martinasco, an official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), explained.
"The disaster unemployment assistance program is designed to help people make ends meet until they can get back to work or resume their customary self-employment," Martinasco, federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery, said.
Federally funded, disaster unemployment benefits are administered by the state in the same way as the New Jersey unemployment program, Martinasco said. Individuals who want to file for benefits may apply at their local unemployment office. Applicants will need to bring their Social Security numbers, as well as documentation of earnings and employment before the disaster, Lt. O'Neil said.