News
Date:October 17, 2008
Contact:Public Relations @ (225) 342-3035

People Affected by Gustav in 10 Additional Parishes Now Eligible to Apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance

BATON ROUGE – Ten additional parishes have been made eligible for federal disaster assistance as a result of Hurricane Gustav. People whose jobs have been lost or interrupted because of the disaster in Concordia, East Carroll, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union, West Carroll and Winn parishes are eligible to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), the Louisiana Workforce Commission announced today.

People eligible in these 10 parishes must file DUA applications within 30 days of this announcement. The deadline to file is Nov. 17, 2008. Applications submitted later 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 new claims or check the status of existing claims is through the Commission's Web site at www.LAWORKS.net.

Those without Internet access can file new claims by calling 1-800-957-1605, Monday - Saturday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

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 problems with or questions about their existing claims should call the Commission’s 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 at the time the major disaster occurred, including the name and address of the last employer or documentation to support that the individual was to commence employment or self-employment on or after the date the major disaster began. Proof of employment must be received within 21 days from the filing date of the claim.

Acceptable forms of proof of employment may include: Individual income tax return for the previous calendar year, business financial statements, pay stubs/vouchers, fisherman trip tickets, agriculture crop elevator receipts/credits, written verification from the employer, etc. If it is determined that an individual was employed full time at the time of the disaster, the claim will be established with an initial weekly benefit amount of $104 per week. However, if a person was self-employed and his/her 2007 net income exceeded $8,333, a copy of the individual’s tax return for the most recently completed calendar year (2007) will be required to increase the weekly benefit amount.

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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