Date:February 28, 2007
Contact:Ed Pratt @ (225) 342-3035

Disaster Assistance Available for Victims of Recent Storms, Tornadoes

BATON ROUGE — Individuals affected by the February 12-13 storms and tornadoes in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Martin parishes are now eligible for federal aid, including Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), the Louisiana Department of Labor announced today.

Individuals who reside or work in the three parishes must file DUA applications within 30 days of this announcement. The deadline to file is March 30. Applications submitted later may be denied

President Bush declared Jefferson, Orleans and St. Martin federal disaster areas on February 23, resulting in the authorization of federal assistance. Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco requested the disaster declaration on Feb. 16 after determining that the incident was of such severity and magnitude that effective response was beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments.

The severe weather resulted in 37 injuries, including one death in New Orleans. In Jefferson Parish, 231 homes were reported destroyed, damaged or affected by the storms. The number of homes in Orleans was 295 and 80 more in St. Martin.

The DUA program, administered by the Louisiana Department of Labor (LDOL), is now accepting claims and will continue until the end of the 30-day filing period.

Claims may be filed through LDOL’s Unemployment Insurance Call Center at 1-866-783-5567 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To receive DUA benefits, individuals must provide their social security number, proof of wages, and proof of employment, including the name and address of the last employer. Proof of employment must be received within 21 days from the filing date of the claim. Self-employed individuals must provide their business and financial records, including federal income tax returns for the most recent tax year 2006.

DUA is available to individuals for weeks of unemployment beginning Sunday, February 18, 2007 and through Saturday August 25, 2007, as long as the claimant’s unemployment continues to be a result of the major disaster. DUA benefits will not be paid for any period of unemployment before or after these dates.

DUA provides benefits to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster. Before an individual can be determined eligible for DUA, it must be established that the individual is not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits (under any state or federal law).

DUA is available to unemployed U.S. nationals and qualified aliens who worked or were self-employed if they:

• worked or were self-employed in or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment in an area declared as a federal 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 a disaster.

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

• do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits from any state.

• cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury or because they were incapacitated as a direct result of the disaster.

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

• cannot work or perform self-employment due to closure of a facility by the federal government.

• lose a majority of income or revenue because the employer or self-employed business was damaged, destroyed, or closed by the federal government. Suffering a monetary loss due to damage of property or crops does not automatically entitle an individual to Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

For further information, call 1-866-783-5567 or visit the Louisiana Department of Labor Web site at

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