Raleigh, NC-The deadline in the final 11 designated counties to register for aid for unemployment caused by Hurricane Isabel is Monday, November 10.
Unemployment benefits are available for workers who lost jobs or income because of the hurricane. The program includes people who normally cannot get unemployment aid, such as farmers, fishermen and the self-employed.
To register, workers who lost income should register by calling 1-877-ESC-OKOK (1-877-372-6565), or going to the nearest office of the Employment Security Commission, which administers the 26-week program for the state.
Applicants must document their pre-disaster employment and earnings at one of those state unemployment offices to determine if they are eligible.
The self-employed must provide a copy of their 2002 tax return.
"Farmers and the self-employed are often the first to feel such losses," said Gracia Szczech of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the official in charge of federal recovery programs, "yet they are not eligible for state unemployment compensation. This program will help them, as well as the other unemployed, recover some of what they have lost."
Those registering for this assistance must have worked in one of the counties that were designated as part of the disaster area, though they may live outside the designated counties.
The benefits are administered using the same procedures as the state unemployment program.
Applicants who were employed in Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Davidson, Duplin, Durham, Harnett, Johnston, Robeson, Sampson, and Wake counties must register with the unemployment office by Monday, November 10.
To apply for all other types of disaster assistance residents should register using FEMA's toll-free telephone number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Individuals with hearing or speech impairments should call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.