Tennessee Governor Bredesen Announces Eight More Tennessee Counties Added For Disaster Unemployment Assistance


Nashville, TN (CompNewsNetwork) - Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen announced yesterday the federal government has authorized Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) for workers in eight additional counties who have lost work as a direct result of the severe storms that ravaged the state, February 5-6, 2008. Benton, Hickman, Houston, Lewis, Montgomery, Perry, Trousdale and Williamson, in addition to the five original counties, Hardin, Macon, Madison, Shelby, and Sumner, will receive benefits paid under provision of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which became available when President Bush granted a Presidential Disaster Declaration in Tennessee at Governor Bredesen’s request.

 “This is a very difficult time for area residents, and we want to make sure that workers who have lost their jobs and are eligible for benefits receive their checks as quickly as possible,” Bredesen said.  “I encourage any worker who feels they may be eligible for these benefits to call the special hotline set up for storm victims by Tennessee’s Unemployment Claims Center.”

If your workplace is in Shelby County you should report to your nearest Career Center, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to file a DUA claim.  If your workplace is in Hardin, Macon, Madison, Benton, Hickman, Houston, Lewis, Montgomery, Perry Trousdale, Williamson or Sumner counties you should call the Unemployment Insurance Claims Center at (toll free) 1-877-813-0950 extension 7599 or (local Nashville area) (615) 253-7599 Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Individuals should have available their 2007 federal income tax return, social security number and any papers with wage and employment information prior to the disaster.

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development administers the program on behalf of the federal government.  According to Commissioner James Neeley, persons unemployed as a direct result of these severe storms must file their claim for DUA by March 10, for Hardin, Macon, Madison, Shelby and Sumner counties and by March 13, for Benton, Hickman, Houston, Lewis, Montgomery, Perry, Trousdale and Williamson.

“Individuals who are not covered for regular unemployment benefits may qualify for disaster unemployment benefits,” Neeley explained.  “This includes self-employed workers, farmers and others not covered by the state unemployment insurance program whose source of income has been interrupted by the severe storm damage.”

In addition to individuals who lost their jobs directly due to the disaster, individuals eligible for DUA may also include the following:

Individuals who are unable to reach their job or self-employment location because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster

Individuals who were to commence employment or self-employment but were prevented by the disaster

Individuals who became the breadwinner or major support for a household because of the death of the head of household due to the disaster

Individuals who cannot work or perform services in self-employment because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster DUA assistance is also available when an individual’s unemployment is a direct result of the major disaster from the following:

The physical damage or destruction of the place of employment
The physical inaccessibility of the place of employment due to its closure by the federal government in immediate response to the disaster
Or lack of work or loss of revenues, if prior to the disaster the employer or self-employed business received at least a majority of its revenue or income from an entity that was damaged or destroyed or an entity closed by the federal government

Weekly DUA benefit amounts are determined in the same way as regular unemployment benefits. Benefits range from $111 to $275 per week and are payable up to 26 weeks beginning with the week ending February 16, 2008. DUA benefits will end if unemployment is no longer caused by these severe storms.

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