RICHMOND, Va. -- Damages and losses due to the November 18-19, 2003 severe storms and flooding caused financial difficulty for many Virginians who lost their jobs or means of earning a living. The deadline to apply for disaster unemployment assistance is fast approaching. Those who live or work in the disaster-declared counties have until Thursday, January 15, 2004 to register for benefits.
The special unemployment program is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and administered by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). Those who need more information, or want to apply for unemployment assistance, can visit the nearest VEC office for more information. Applicants should bring their Social Security number and, if possible, documentation showing earnings for the calendar year of 2002.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits may be available for those who:
- Are unable to work because their place of employment was put out of operation or who are unable to travel to their work place due to the disaster and are not eligible for regular unemployment;
- Are self-employed but are prevented from working due to the disaster (must provide income tax forms, schedules SE and C or F or other proof of self-employment);
- Have become the breadwinner or major support of a household because the head of the household died as a direct result of the disaster;
- Cannot work because of an injury or illness caused as a direct result of the disaster.
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.