FEMA amends disaster declaration in Texas for March storms

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Disaster Unemployment Assistance now available in nine counties.

AUSTIN – On March 21, 2016 the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) began accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) as a result of the Presidential Disaster Declaration (FEMA 4266-DR) for Jasper, Newton and Orange counties. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) amended the notice for DUA on March 25, 2016 to include the following counties: Erath, Gregg, Harrison, Hood, Marion and Parker. The assistance is related to storms and flooding that began on March 7, 2016.

Applications for DUA for the six counties added through the amendment must be submitted by April 27, 2016. TWC’s website contains more information about Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Individual Assistance provides affected residents and businesses access to federal disaster aid programs including unemployment benefits for workers who temporarily lost their jobs because of the disaster or self-employed individuals. The deadline for applications for DUA in Jasper, Newton and Orange counties is April 20, 2016.

DUA is available for workers who lost their jobs and self-employed individuals who have been unable to work due to damage sustained from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding. Severe weather, including destructive flooding, devastated multiple counties and hundreds of homes and businesses were lost, resulting in disaster-related unemployment.

Individuals affected by the recent severe storms in these counties can apply for benefits online through Unemployment Benefit Services or by calling a TWC Tele-Center, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 800-939-6631. Individuals should specify that their applications are related to the damage caused by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that began March 7, 2016 in one of the counties listed in the amended disaster declaration.

In those areas affected, individuals can find the nearest FEMA DRC by entering their zip coded in the Disaster Recovery Center Locator. DUA, which is unemployment insurance benefits made available especially for victims of disaster, is available to individuals who: 

• Have applied for and used all regular unemployment benefits from any state, or do not qualify for unemployment benefits

• Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment in the disaster area 

• Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster

• Establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their primary source of income

• Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster

• Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of household

To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be mailed or faxed within 21 days from the day the DUA application is filed. Required documentation includes Social Security number, a copy of the most recent federal income tax form or check stubs, or documentation to support that affected individuals were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred.

Send documentation to: Texas Workforce Commission, UI Support Services Department, Attn: DUA, 101 E. 15th St., Room 354, Austin, TX, 78778-0001, or fax it to 512-936-3250.

Job seekers may visit local Workforce Solutions offices for access to job-search resources, job postings and training programs, as well as assistance with exploring career options, résumé and application preparation, career development and more. Customers also may connect with potential employers through TWC’s online job-search engine, by visiting WorkinTexas.com.

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