News
Date:September 14, 2008
Contact:Public Relations @ (225) 342-3035

Disaster Unemployment Assistance available for victims of Hurricane Ike
Citizens reminded of deadlines for filing Gustav-related claims

BATON ROUGE - People whose jobs have been lost or interrupted because of the disaster in the 14 parishes eligible for individual disaster assistance as a result of Hurricane Ike also are eligible to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), the Louisiana Workforce Commission announced today.

Those parishes are Acadia, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafourche, Plaquemines, Sabine, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Vermilion and Vernon.

Those eligible must file DUA applications within 30 days of this announcement. The deadline to file is Oct 14, 2008. Applications submitted later may be denied.

Gov. Bobby Jindal requested the disaster declaration for Louisiana on Sept. 12, 2008, 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. President Bush signed the declaration on Sept. 13, resulting in the authorization of federal assistance for 14 parishes.

The DUA program, administered by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, is now accepting claims and will continue until the end of the 30-day filing period.

For those affected by Hurricane Ike, DUA is available for weeks of unemployment beginning Sept. 14, 2008 through March 14, 2009, as long as the claimant's unemployment continues to be a result of Hurricane Ike. DUA benefits will not be paid for any period of unemployment before or after these dates.

Hurricane Gustav is a separate disaster under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program. Methods of filing are the same, but the deadlines and eligibility period are different.

People affected by Hurricane Gustav in 43 disaster-declared parishes are eligible to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

In the parishes of Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Sabine, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Vernon, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana, the deadline for filing for Gustav-related claims is Oct. 6, 2008.

In the parishes of Calcasieu, Catahoula, Franklin, Grant, LaSalle, St. Helena and Washington, the deadline to file for Gustav-related claims is Oct 13, 2008. Applications submitted later than these dates may be denied.

DUA is available to individuals for weeks of unemployment beginning Sept. 7, 2008 through March 7, 2009, as long as the claimant's unemployment continues to be a result of Hurricane Gustav. DUA benefits will not be paid for any period of unemployment before or after these dates.

The best way to file claims is through the LWC Web site at www.laworks.net.

Those without Internet access wishing to file new claims should call 1-866-259-6345 or 1-800-957-1605. The call center will operate from 6 a.m. - 10 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.

For those who have already filed a claim and wish to file for continued weekly benefits, LWC officials recommend they call any of the Easy Call numbers or submit their requests via the Web at www.laworks.net.

People who have issues with their claims should call the commissionís usual toll-free line, 1-866-783-5567, to have them resolved.

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 2007.

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.

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