ATLANTA, Ga. -- Help comes in many forms following major disasters. The information below may assist disaster applicants in Bartow, Burke, DeKalb, Floyd, Fulton, Jefferson and Polk counties with tax issues, unemployment and legal advice, according to officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is funded by FEMA and administered by the Georgia Department of Labor. DUA provides benefits for workers who would not normally qualify for unemployment compensation, including farmers, farm workers, diversified farming operators, loggers, commission-paid employees, those who are self-employed, and others who are not eligible for the state's program. The maximum weekly benefit amount is $320. Anyone in Fulton County interested in filing for DUA must apply for these benefits no later than April 21, 2008. In all other eligible counties, the deadline is April 23, 2008. DUA claims may be filed at any of the Georgia Department of Labor career centers.?
The State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division (YLD) in conjunction with the American Bar Association (ABA) YLD, the Georgia Legal Services Program and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, has set up a disaster relief hotline to assist persons affected by the tornadoes that hit Georgia the weekend of March 14-16. Those impacted by the tornadoes who can't afford legal representation and live in one of the designated counties - Bartow, Burke, DeKalb, Floyd, Fulton, Jefferson and Polk - are encouraged to call the hotline. The toll-free number is 1-866-584-8027. Callers will receive assistance with issues such as landlord/tenant disputes, family law, consumer law, housing law, food stamps, Medicaid, unemployment benefits issues and identification replacement. Volunteer attorneys will return messages left at the toll free number; callers may request a Spanish-speaking attorney return their call.
The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR), Businesses or individuals in seven Georgia counties impacted by the March severe storms and tornadoes, March 14-16, which have been declared a Presidential disaster area by the President, are eligible for tax extensions and assistance from the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR), according to the department.
Affected businesses or individuals in the presidential disaster area will be given until May 19 to submit their returns or make tax payments, including estimated tax payments that have a due date falling on or after March 14, 2008, or on or before May 19, 2008. These dates correspond with the dates set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Affected taxpayers should write "March 2008 Tornado," across the top of any forms submitted to the department.
Taxpayers eligible for the postponement of time to file returns, pay taxes, and perform other time-sensitive acts include individuals who live, and businesses whose principal place of business is located, in the covered disaster area. Taxpayers not in the covered disaster area, but whose books, records, or tax professionals' offices are in the covered disaster area, are also entitled to relief. In addition, all relief workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization assisting in the relief activities in the covered disaster area are eligible for relief. Taxpayers who are assessed a penalty and believe they did not receive due consideration regarding the storms' impact, need assistance or have questions should contact DOR's main office in Atlanta at