HARRISBURG, Pa. -- If flooding from Hurricane Floyd put you out of work, you may be eligible for disaster unemployment assistance.
Self-employed and unemployed workers in Berks, Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Lancaster and York counties who are not covered by regular state unemployment insurance programs can apply for this federally funded assistance available under the major disaster declaration by President Clinton.
"Under this program, benefits may be paid to eligible individuals until they are able to return to work or resume their customary self-employment," said Jack Schuback, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official who is the federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery effort.
"Applicants for disaster unemployment assistance can apply in person at local Pennsylvania Job Centers or by phone," said Bob Churchman, who is state coordinating officer and acting director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
The toll-free number is 1-877-FILE DUA (1-877-345-3382). The number for speech- or hearing impaired applicants with TTY equipment is 1-888-334-4046. Phone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Disaster unemployment assistance covers persons who:
- are unable to work because their place of employment was put out of operation or they were unable to travel to their work place due to the effects of the flood damage;
- are self-employed but are prevented from working due to the effects of the flood damage;
- have become the breadwinner or major support of a household because the head of the household died as a direct result of the disaster; or
- cannot work because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster.
"State Department of Labor and Industry staff at the Job Centers or the Unemployment Compensation Service Center teleregistration number can help applicants determine whether they are eligible for regular unemployment or disaster unemployment assistance," Churchman said.
The deadline for applying for disaster unemployment assistance is Oct. 25 with the exception of Berks county which has been extended to Nov.18, according to officials. When applicants call they should have their Social Security number and, if possible, documentation of calendar year 1998 earnings.
For further information about disaster unemployment assistance, call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321. The information number for speech- or hearing-impaired applicants with TTY equipment is 1-800-462-7585.