Tupelo, MS -- Residents of the 50 Mississippi disaster-declared counties, including the recently declared 12 southern Mississippi counties, may be eligible for federal disaster unemployment benefits if they lost their income as a direct result of the violent weather.
"Federally funded disaster unemployment benefits for eligible individuals are administered by the state in the same manner as the regular unemployment program. Applicants will need to take their social security numbers and documentation of pre-disaster employment and earnings to their local unemployment office to apply," said Leon Shaifer, the state official in charge of the recovery operation.
John Hannah of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the federal official responsible for coordinating federal assistance programs with the state, said the benefits apply only to persons who are otherwise ineligible for state unemployment compensation, such as self-employed people, agricultural workers and those on salary.
Citizens who suffered uninsured or underinsured losses are reminded that the first step to disaster aid is to call FEMA's toll-free registration number, 1-800-462-9029. The number for persons with hearing or speech impairments is 1-800-462-7585.