Jackson, MS -- Residents located in the nine disaster-declared northeast Mississippi counties who are unemployed because of the May 5th through 8th severe storms, tornadoes and high winds may be eligible to apply for disaster unemployment assistance.
Mississippi's State Coordinating Officer Leon Shaifer stated, "The Mississippi Employment Security Commission has requested and received initial federal funding for the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program. The DUA program covers people who would otherwise be ineligible for unemployment compensation, including agricultural and hourly paid workers, the self-employed and other categories of workers not included in the regular unemployment program. Workers who cannot work because of an injury caused by the disaster or who became the major support for a household because of the death of the head of the household due to the disaster are also eligible to apply."
Workers, who were unable to reach their job because the disaster prevented their travel, or who were about to begin employment but the disaster prevented them from doing so, also may apply.
The DUA was activated following President Bush's disaster declaration on May 23, 2003.
Carlos Mitchell, the federal official in charge of the disaster recovery effort, said, "Claims for disaster unemployment assistance should be filed at the unemployment insurance office of the Mississippi Employment Security Commission nearest to the person's home. This emergency benefit program is entirely funded by the federal government; therefore, there will be no increases in taxes paid by Mississippi employers to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund."
June 30, 2003, is the deadline to apply for DUA. Workers in the nine disaster-declared counties are eligible to apply. Those counties are Calhoun, Clay, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Monroe, Pontotoc and Webster.