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State to help workers who lost jobs in October disaster area

By Ian White

WORKERS throughout the county who lost their jobs during the severe weather that hit a large area of Texas in late October can now apply for special unemployment assistance.
The financial assistance is being offered through the state’s workforce commission in the wake of acceptance by the federal government of a call by Texas governor Greg Abbott for the affected area to be declared a disaster zone.
Self-employed people who have been left unable to work since the severe storms can also apply for the disaster unemployment assistance.

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Under the terms of the program, applicants have only a limited time in which to file for assistance, which provides access to federal disaster-aid programs including unemployment benefits to affected residents and businesses in the disaster area.
Original applications must be filed by January 6 and all documentation required by the program must be delivered within 21 days of filing.
Required documentation includes the applicant’s social-security number, a copy of the filer’s most recent federal income tax form or check stubs, or documentation to prove that the claimant was working or self-employed between October 22 and 31, when the disaster occurred.
The assistance, known as DUA, takes the form of unemployment insurance benefits made available especially for victims of disaster and is available to individuals who meet one or more of six criteria.
• They must either have applied for and used all regular unemployment benefits from any state or be unable to qualify for unemployment benefits.
• They must have worked or been self-employed or scheduled to begin work or self-employment in the disaster area at the time of the disaster.
• They must be no longer able to work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of their employment as a direct result of the disaster.
• They must establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their primary source
of income.
• They must be no longer able to perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result
of the disaster.
• They must have become the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of the household during the disaster.
TWC is operating a call center for applicants at 800-939-6631 between 8:00am and 5:00pm from Monday to Friday each week until the deadline and is also offering the benefits through the unemployment-benefit-services section of its website, texasworkforce.org.
Galveston is one of 15 counties covered by the presidential disaster declaration. The others are Bastrop, Brazoria, Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Liberty, Navarro, Travis, Willacy and Wilson counties.

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