Disaster unemployment Assistance available in 16 parishes - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Disaster unemployment Assistance available in 16 parishes

Louisiana Workforce Commission

People whose jobs have been lost or interrupted as a direct result of Hurricane Isaac in parishes approved for FEMA's individual disaster assistance are eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

Anyone who has not returned to work as of Sept. 8, 2012, can apply. The affected parishes and associated deadline date to apply are as follows:

If you live in, worked in, or travel through Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, or St. Tammany parishes, your deadline to apply is Tuesday, October 2, 2012.

If you live in, worked in, or travel through St. Charles or Tangipahoa parishes, your deadline to apply is Friday, October 5, 2012.

If you live in, worked in, or travel through Assumption, St. Helena, St. James, Terrebonne, or
Washington parishes, your deadline to apply is Monday, Oct. 8, 2012.

During this recovery period, the Louisiana Workforce Commission is committed to rapidly responding to the needs of both businesses and employees. As an employer, you play a vital role in ensuring qualified applicants receive benefits promptly, and that those who do not qualify do not.

Some people will file unemployment claims just in case they don't return to work quickly. Unless the Louisiana Workforce Commission is informed that your employees have returned to work, we're obligated to pay those claims.

It is crucial that you respond to us when we reach out to verify employment and wages. Specifically, we will need to know if your employee was unable to work because of Hurricane Isaac – AND, if so, was this employee compensated for the days not worked. This helps us pay the right people the right amount quickly, and helps us avoid paying benefits to those who are no longer entitled to them.

You can respond to us with hurricane-related information by:
FAX: (225) 346-6086
Email: IsaacDUA2012@lwc.la.gov
Postal mail: UI Special Claims Unit, P.O. Box 3312, Baton Rouge, LA 70821

Information we will need to know:
What was the last day the employee worked for you?
When do you expect the employee to return to work for you?
Are you in contact with your employee?

FAQ:

What is Disaster Unemployment Assistance?

The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program provides assistance to individuals whose employment has been either lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster, as declared by the President of the United States. A number of Louisiana parishes qualify for DUA assistance as a result of Hurricane Isaac.

Who is eligible for DUA?

DUA is available to unemployed workers or self-employed individuals who became unemployed as a direct result of the disaster. DUA is also available to those individuals who became the breadwinner, or major support provider, due to the death of the head of household and as a direct result of the disaster.

When is the deadline to file a claim and what parishes are eligible?

Deadline to apply: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012

Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany

Deadline to apply: Friday, Oct. 5, 2012

St. Charles, Tangipahoa

Deadline to apply: Monday, Oct. 8, 2012

Assumption, St. Helena, St. James, Terrebonne, Washington

How do I file a claim?

Claims can be filled online at www.laworks.net or through the UI Call Center at 1-866-783-5567. Proof of employment at the time of the disaster is required within 21 days of filing the DUA application. Instructions will be provided as to where to fax or mail this required documentation. Your personal income tax return (Federal Form 1040 and attachments) or other proof of employment and wages for the prior calendar year is also requested if available.

Things to keep in mind when filing a DUA claim:

• Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits supersede DUA – Any person determined eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits or the Federal Extended Benefits Program, even in the case of a disaster, would not be eligible for DUA.

• Your employer will be notified – LWC is required to notify your last employer when you apply for any unemployment insurance benefits, including DUA. Any failure to provide the proper name and address of your last employer may result in a delay of benefits.

• Fraudulent claims will be prosecuted, including jail time – You are required to report all earnings when worked, not when received. Intentional false reporting of reason for separation or last employer information may also be considered fraudulent.

• You must report all earnings weekly – If you are paid by your employer during your absence from work or if you return to work, you must report these earnings on your weekly request for payment. If you receive vacation pay, contact the call center at 1-866-783-5567.

How much assistance can I expect to receive?

Individuals eligible for DUA will be paid weekly benefits in accordance with federal and state regulations. The average DUA benefit duration is based on the severity of the disaster. Currently, the maximum weekly assistance amount in Louisiana is $247 and is based on the individual's gross earnings or net income if self-employed for the most recent tax year. The minimum DUA benefit amount is $99 weekly based on full-time employment.

How long will it take before I receive my benefits?

DUA benefits are held until such time that proof of employment and wages are verified and it is determined that the unemployment was a direct result of the disaster. Each claim must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Continue to file your weekly continued claims as long as you are unemployed as a direct result of the disaster. Our goal is to ensure a determination is made as quickly as possible.

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