Birmingham, AL -- Alabamians who have lost work as a direct result of May's severe storms, tornadoes and flooding and who do not qualify for state jobless benefits may be eligible for unemployment assistance under a disaster program, disaster recovery officials said.
Triggered by President Bush's May 12 major disaster declaration for Alabama, the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and administered by the state of Alabama.
Perry Martin, of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA), state coordinating officer for the disaster recovery, said the DUA program extends coverage to many people who would otherwise not qualify for regular state jobless benefits.
Workers may be eligible for disaster unemployment assistance if they:
- could not work because the disaster impeded their ability to report for work, or
- could not work because the work site was affected by the disaster causing work stoppage, or
- are self-employed and their businesses were affected by the disaster and they were unable to operate their businesses because of the disaster.
"DUA benefits can help eligible applicants make ends meet until they can get back to work," said Gracia Szczech, the federal coordinating officer.
The program is administered by the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations through its network of Unemployment Compensation Call Centers across the state. Persons wishing to file claims may do so by calling, toll free, 1-866-234-5382. The deadline to apply is June 11, 2003.
Applicants for Disaster Unemployment Assistance will need to document pre-disaster employment and earnings before their eligibility is determined. Self-employed individuals will be asked to provide copies of their 2002 federal income tax returns.
The 38 counties designated for disaster assistance are Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Bullock, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, DeKalb, Escambia, Etowah, Jackson, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Macon, Madison, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Morgan, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Washington.