Federal disaster unemployment assistance in Georgia

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ATLANTA -- State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said today that workers in Bartow, Burke, DeKalb, Floyd, Jefferson, and Polk counties may now be eligible for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to compensate for loss of income directly resulting from the tornadoes that hit Georgia on Friday and Saturday, March 14-15. The six additional counties have been added to the list that includes Fulton County.

Commissioner Thurmond said two forms of unemployment insurance assistance are available: Georgia’s regular unemployment insurance and DUA. DUA is a federal program that differs from state unemployment insurance in that it provides benefits to self-employed business people, farmers, diversified farming operators, loggers, commission-paid employees and others who are not eligible for the state’s program. The maximum weekly benefit amount is $320.

The Commissioner emphasized that affected workers should apply for these benefits no later than April 23, 2008.

DUA claims may be filed at any of the Georgia Department of Labor career centers. Bartow County is served by the Cartersville Career Center at 19 Felton Place in Cartersville, (770) 387-3760; Burke and Jefferson counties are served by the Augusta Career Center, 601 Greene St. in Augusta, (706) 721-3131; DeKalb County is served by the DeKalb Career Center, 3879 Covington Highway in Decatur, (404) 298-3970 and the North Metro Career Center, 2943 North Druid Hills Rd. in Atlanta, (404) 679-5200; Floyd County is served by the Rome Career Center, 462 Riverside Parkway in Rome, (706) 295-6051, and Polk County is served by the Cedartown Career Center, 321 West Avenue in Cedartown, (770) 749-2213.

In applying for DUA benefits, applicants will need to provide their social security number. Because verification of income may be required, applicants are strongly urged to bring proof of earnings for the most recently completed tax year. Examples of acceptable documents include: copies of their most recently completed income tax returns, copies of quarterly estimated income tax payment records, or similar documents.

Disaster unemployment benefits may also be available to individuals who become the breadwinner or major support of a household because the head of household has died as a direct result of the disaster. In general, such individuals must have shared the same residence with the head of household, and must have been related by blood, marriage, adoption, or a similar legal arrangement. The head of household must also have provided at least one-half of the household income during the most recently completed tax year. Persons who become the breadwinner or major support of a household under such circumstances should be prepared to present proof of the death of the head of household, such as a death certificate or affidavit.

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