OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The storms of January brought more than flooding and landslides. They put people out of work. But people who normally would not be eligible for unemployment benefits, such as the self-employed, may get help through the state-managed, federally-funded Disaster Unemployment Assistance program.
If you were out of work because of the storms of Jan. 6 - 16, 2009, you may be eligible to receive unemployment compensation.
The benefits are administered by the Employment Security Department of Washington state through a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Disaster unemployment can extend for as long as 26 weeks from the day the disaster was declared.
The deadlines to apply for this assistance are:
- No later than Friday, March 6 for residents of King, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston and Wahkiakum counties.
- No later than Wednesday, March 11 for residents of Benton, Clallam, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Kittitas, Skagit and Whatcom counties.
This program is available to people who:
- Live or work in declared disaster areas, and
- Became unemployed as a direct result of a disaster, and
- Are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
Persons interested in applying for this type of unemployment assistance can obtain an application by contacting the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Unit at 1-877-416-7274. You can also email your request to DUA@esd.wa.gov, or download the application packet online at www.esd.wa.gov/uibenefits/specialservices/disaster/natural-disaster.php.
Additionally, officials want affected residents to know that the deadline to register for FEMA-state disaster assistance is March 31, 2009. Applicants can register by calling, toll-free, 1-800-621-3362
(FEMA), (TTY 1-800-462-7585), from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, or registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
This assistance may include housing assistance grants, property grants under the federal-state "Other Needs Assistance" program, and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.