Federal disaster unemployment assistance available in 17 counties - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Federal disaster unemployment assistance available in 17 counties

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from the Georgia Department of Labor   

ATLANTA -- State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said today workers in 17 Georgia 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 struck the area on March 26, 2009.

Those counties include: Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Coffee, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Echols, Lanier, Lowndes, Miller, Mitchell, Pierce, Tift, Ware, Wheeler, and Worth.   

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. DUA differs from state unemployment insurance in that it also provides benefits to self-employed business people, farmers, diversified farming operators, loggers, commission-paid employees and others who are not eligible for Georgia's regular unemployment insurance program.

The maximum weekly benefit amount is $330.00.  The Commissioner emphasized that affected workers should apply for these benefits no later than May 28, 2009.

In applying for DUA benefits, applicants will need to provide their social security number.  Because verification of income may be required, applicants are strongly urged to bring 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 direct result of the disaster.  In general, such individuals must have shared the same residence with the head of household, and must have been related by blood, marriage, adoption, or a similar legal arrangement.

The head of household must also have provided at least one-half of the household income during the most recently completed tax year. Persons who become the breadwinner or major support of a household under such circumstances should be prepared to present proof of the death of the head of household, such as a death certificate or affidavit.

Potentially eligible people should contact their nearest Georgia Department of Labor office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  Workers may call the Georgia Department of Labor's toll-free customer service line at (877) 709-8185 to obtain career center information.