Unemployment assistance available to workers affected by storms

Published 7:28 pm Thursday, February 2, 2012

Workers who became unemployed as a direct result of the Jan. 23 severe weather outbreak may qualify for unemployment help.

People who live in or worked in Chilton and Jefferson counties and became unemployed due to severe storms, flooding, tornadoes and straight-line winds during the period of Jan. 22-23 may be eligible for assistance under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program.

“Generally, those who are eligible for state unemployment benefits are not eligible for DUA, but a claimant may qualify if state unemployment compensation benefits are exhausted,” said Tom Surtees, director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations. “If you believe you are entitled to these benefits, I urge you to file a claim to see if you are eligible.”

People who may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance include the following: individuals who no longer have a job, are unable to reach the place of employment, or were scheduled to start work in the major disaster area and the job no longer exists; those who became the breadwinner or major support of the family because the head of household died, or those who cannot work because of an injury incurred during the major disaster. All of the previously described circumstances must be as a direct result of the storms. Self-employed individuals must provide a copy of their 2011 income tax records.

Claims can be filed through DIR’s website at www.dir.alabama.gov or by calling 1-866-234-5382. The deadline to file a DUA claim is March 5, 2012.