Unemployment assistance will be made available for those impacted by tornadoes

by George Jared ([email protected]) 344 views 

Deadly tornadoes ransacked parts of Northeast Arkansas in early December. The twisters carved a path of destruction that damaged and destroyed homes and killed at least two people in the region.

With the number of businesses damaged or destroyed, it is inevitable that some will lose their jobs at least temporarily if not permanently. The state is ready to provide unemployment assistance for those impacted.

Individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of the severe storms in Craighead, Jackson, Mississippi, Poinsett, and Woodruff counties may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), according to Dr. Charisse Childers, director of the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services.

At the request of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a federal disaster declaration was issued designating Craighead, Jackson, Mississippi, Poinsett, and Woodruff counties as federal disaster areas. Among the different types of assistance available to individuals and households by the federal disaster declaration is DUA. Individuals who have temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits (such as self-employed individuals) may be eligible for DUA, which provides unemployment benefits up to 28 weeks. The first possible week of compensation for DUA purposes is the week ending December 18 and the last possible week of compensation is the week ending June 25.

Claims for these five counties must be filed between Jan. 3 through February 2 at DWS offices. DWS offices also will provide re-employment assistance where appropriate. Claims filed after the deadline will be considered untimely and benefits denied, unless the individual provides good cause for filing after that date.

Each claim is considered individually; therefore, individuals who believe they may be eligible should bring a copy of their government issued photo identification, Social Security card, the name and address of their last place of employment, and documents verifying income, such as income tax statements, recent pay stubs, W-2 forms or other proof of net income for 2020.