RALEIGH, N.C. -- Disaster survivors of the April storms and tornadoes may be eligible for disaster unemployment assistance and free legal help on disaster-related issues.
Individuals who became unemployed because of the storms and tornadoes may qualify for disaster unemployment assistance. This program helps people who don't qualify for standard unemployment compensation programs, such as the self-employed, farmers and seasonal workers. Benefits begin with the date the individual was unemployed and can extend up to 26 weeks after the Presidential declaration date of April 19, 2011.
You may qualify for disaster unemployment assistance if one of the following applies:
- You are unemployed as a direct result of the storms and tornadoes;
- You cannot reach your place of employment because of disaster-related travel disruptions;
- You must support a household because the head of the household died in the storms and tornadoes;
- You are unable to work because of a disaster-related injury; or
- You cannot work because your place of employment was damaged or destroyed by the storms.
To apply for disaster unemployment assistance, you should call the North Carolina Employment Security Commission toll-free at 866-795-8877. You need to provide the following information:
- Your Social Security number, or Alien Registration number if you are not a citizen;
- Any pay stubs or other proof of employment you have had within the last 18 months; and
- Your most recent federal income tax returns and/or your profit-and-loss statement if you are self-employed.
In North Carolina, disaster survivors needing legal assistance may call the N.C. Bar Association at
800-662-7407 and ask for disaster legal services. Leave your information and an attorney will call back within 72 hours. The hot line is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The legal assistance typically includes:
- Help with insurance claims (life, medical, property, etc.);
- Counseling on landlord/tenant problems;
- Help with consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures; and
- Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster.
Free legal services are available to individuals unable to secure adequate legal services, whether the lack of resources existed before or as a result of the disaster.
The N.C. Bar Association also offers a free informational pamphlet, "Rebuilding After Disaster Strikes," which can be downloaded from www.ncbar.org, where it is located on the home page under Featured Items.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) underwrites the disaster legal services through an agreement with the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.