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FEMA Amends Disaster Declaration In Texas

Texas Workforce Commission

AUSTIN – On May 29, 2015 the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) began accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) as a result of the Presidential Disaster Declaration (FEMA 4223-DR) for Harris, Hays and Van Zandt counties. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) amended the notice for DUA on June 6, 2015 to include the following counties: Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Denton, Eastland, Fort Bend, Gaines, Guadalupe, Henderson, Hidalgo, Johnson, Milam, Montague, Navarro, Rusk, Smith, Travis, Wichita, Williamson and Wise.

Applications for DUA for the counties added through the amendment must be submitted by July 8, 2015.  TWC’s website contains more information about Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Individual Assistance provides affected residents and businesses access to federal disaster aid programs including unemployment benefits for workers who temporarily lost their jobs because of the disaster or self-employed individuals. The deadline for applications for DUA in Harris, Hays and Van Zandt counties is July 1, 2015.

DUA is available for workers who lost their jobs and self-employed individuals who have been unable to work due to damage sustained from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding. Severe weather, including destructive flooding, has devastated multiple counties and hundreds of homes and businesses have been lost, resulting in disaster-related unemployment.

Individuals affected by the recent severe storms in these counties can apply for benefits online through Unemployment Benefit Services  or by calling a TWC Tele-Center, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 800-939-6631. Individuals should specify that their applications are related to the damage caused by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding in one of the counties listed in the amended disaster declaration.

DUA, which is unemployment insurance benefits made available especially for victims of disaster, is available to individuals who:

·        Have applied for and used all regular unemployment benefits from any state, or do not qualify for unemployment benefits

·        Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment in the disaster area

·        Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster

·        Establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their primary source of income

·        Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster

·        Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of household

FEMA has deployed mobile Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) to San Marcos, Houston, Van and Wimberley. In those areas affected individuals can find the nearest FEMA DRC by entering their zip coded in the Disaster Recovery Center Locator.

To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be mailed or faxed within 21 days from the day the DUA application is filed. Required documentation includes Social Security number, a copy of the most recent federal income tax form or check stubs, or documentation to support that affected individuals were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred.

Send documentation to: Texas Workforce Commission, UI Support Services Department, Attn: DUA, 101 E. 15th St., Room 354, Austin, TX, 78778-0001, or fax it to 512-936-3250.