Federal disaster unemployment assistance now available in six Georgia counties in wake of storms

| January 30, 2017

ATLANTA – State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that workers in Berrien, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty, Turner and Wilcox counties may now be eligible for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to compensate for loss of income directly resulting from the severe storms and tornadoes which occurred Jan. 21-22.

“The heavy damage that results from natural disasters often forces businesses to close for repairs, leaving owners and employees without incomes,” said Butler. “These federal unemployment benefits help provide a financial bridge until their incomes resume.”

Butler announced yesterday that workers in Dougherty County may be eligible for DUA if they lost income as a direct result of the severe storms and tornado of Jan. 2.

DUA is a federal program established to help workers whose primary income is lost or interrupted as a direct result of a disaster declared by the President. It differs from state unemployment insurance in that it provides benefits to self-employed business people, farmers, diversified farming operators, loggers, commission-paid employees and others who are not eligible for the state’s program. The maximum weekly benefit amount is $330.

Business owners and workers impacted by the storms in the affected counties should apply for these benefits byMonday, Feb. 27.

Individuals in the counties who were directly affected by the tornados and storms of Jan. 21-22 must first apply for regular unemployment benefits on the Georgia Department of Labor’s (GDOL) website dol.georgia.gov, or at the Albany Career Center, 1608 S. Slappey Blvd.; Americus Career Center, 120 W. Church St.; Moultrie Career Center, 220 North Main St.; Valdosta Career Center, 221 S. Ashley St.; Tifton Career Center, 310 South Tift Ave.; and Eastman Career Center, 516 Park Way. The GDOL will notify claimants if they are also eligible to file for DUA.

When applying for DUA benefits, verification of income may be required. Applicants should be prepared to provide proof of earnings for the most recently completed tax year.  Examples of acceptable documents include: copies of their most recently completed income tax returns, copies of quarterly estimated income tax payment records, or similar documents.

Under certain circumstance, DUA benefits may also be available to individuals who become the breadwinner or major support of a household because the head of household has died as a direct result of the disaster.  People applying under such circumstances should be prepared to present proof of the death of the head of household, such as a death certificate or affidavit.

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