Tallahassee, FL -- Tom McGurk, Director of Florida's Agency for Workforce Innovation, announced today that individuals who have lost jobs or businesses in designated counties due to the damaging effects from freezing weather on agricultural crops, commercial fishing, and fish farming in those areas beginning December 1, 2000 and ending January 25, 2001 may be entitled to unemployment compensation or Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits. The designated counties are Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, Dixie, Miami-Dade, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Suwannee, Sumter, Union, and Volusia.
On February 5, 2001, President George W. Bush, in response to a request from Governor Jeb Bush, declared a major disaster in Florida, clearing the way for use of federal funds to aid relief efforts in Florida.
Although some workers will be covered by the state's regular unemployment compensation program, those not covered may apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). DUA is a federally funded program, which assists individuals who become unemployed as a direct result of a declared disaster. The program also covers self-employed individuals, owners of farms and ranches, farm and ranch workers, as well as fishers and others who are not normally covered by state unemployment compensation.
The Agency for Workforce Innovation administers the DUA program in Florida in partnership with regional workforce boards and One-stop Career Centers. Funding for the program is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is channeled through the U.S. Department of Labor.
Applicants must file for disaster benefits within 30 days of the date of public notification. Accordingly, residents of those counties must apply for DUA no later than March 11, 2001.
To be eligible for either the regular state unemployment compensation program or DUA, the applicant must be a legal resident. To be eligible for DUA benefits, an individual must have exhausted all entitlement to any regular state unemployment benefits and must have been working in or residing in one of the counties for which the disaster has been officially declared. DUA benefits are available to unemployed individuals for up to 26 weeks from the date of the disaster declaration.
Federal regulations provide that the unemployment of an individual is caused by a disaster if the individual: (1) becomes unemployed as a direct result of the disaster; or (2) is unable to reach the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster; or (3) was scheduled to begin work and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the disaster; or (4) has become the major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of the disaster; or (5) cannot work because of an injury caused directly by the disaster.
Individuals applying for disaster related unemployment assistance will need to have the following information available:
- Social Security number
- Alien registration number and expiration date (if a non-U.S. citizen)
- Name and address of most recent employer(s)
- If self-employed have proof of self-employment for the past two years (State or Federal tax returns, financial statements, bank records of accounts, or 1099 Forms. Documentation necessary to support a claim may be faxed to 850-921-3939. Applicant's Social Security number should appear on all documents submitted)
- If schedu...