WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to anyone who lives or works in Berkshire and Franklin counties and who lost work as a direct result of Tropical Storm Irene.
The application period is now open and will end on October 6, 2011. Individuals who are unemployed due to the storm may call (877) 232-6200 to apply. Individuals with a speech or hearing disability may call (TTY) 1-800-439-2370. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information people can go to: www.mass.gov/dua/disasterui.
"Unfortunately, a disaster affects an individual's income if left jobless by the storm," said Federal Coordinating Officer James N. Russo. "If someone is not eligible for Massachusetts' standard unemployment program and has lost a job because of Irene's damage, the Federal DUA program could pick up the slack and provide them with funds."
Individuals who may qualify for DUA include unemployed workers or self-employed individuals who lived, worked or were scheduled to work in the area impacted by the tropical storm.
Examples of reasons one may qualify for DUA are:
- You were injured in the disaster and are unable to work, whether you are an employee or self- employed.
- Your workplace was damaged or destroyed, or you can't work because of the disaster.
- Your transportation to work is not available because of the disaster.
- You cannot get to your job because you must travel through the area affected by the disaster.
- You were about to begin working, but could not because of the disaster.
- You derived most of your income from areas affected by the disaster, whether you worked for yourself or for an employer and your business is down as a direct result of the disaster.
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.