Charleston, WV -- West Virginians who have lost their jobs or suffered a loss of income directly because of the state's floods may be eligible for special federal/state unemployment compensation.
Stephen S. Kappa, director of the state Office of Emergency Services and the state official coordinating recovery efforts, listed the following conditions that may qualify applicants for the program:
- Unemployed as a direct consequence of the disaster
- Self-employed, such as farmers or trades people, who have lost income as a result of the floods
- Small business owners
- Individuals injured in the disaster
- Anyone not eligible for standard state unemployment benefits, such as seasonal workers.
The West Virginia Bureau of Employment Programs administers the federally funded supplemental disaster unemployment program. Individual claims should be filed at local Bureau of Employment Program offices.
The program is in effect in the 22 counties that have been declared disaster areas as a result of the state's several floods since late spring.
"Loss of employment is adding insult to injury for those who have just suffered losses in a flood or other disaster," said Carlos Mitchell, coordinator of recovery efforts for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "We hope this program will provide another building block for folks trying to reconstruct their lives."
Mitchell reminded residents of the disaster-stricken counties that the necessary first step to obtain other forms of disaster assistance is to call the FEMA toll-free registration number at 1-800-462-9029. Persons with speech or hearing impairments should call 1-800-462-7585.