How to Use “Disaster Unemployment Assistance”

By Phil from 32BJ

Did you lose pay last week/ongoing? You might be able to get Disaster Unemployment Assistance. I prepped this handy guide for use with our union members but it might apply to you to. Not just hourly workers, but small business owners and independent contracts can apply too.
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You are eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) if you lost work because your workplace was closed or you could not get to your workplace because of the storm. It covers workplaces/residents of the 5 boroughs plus Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties in NY (also you might be eligible if you had to travel through those areas to get to work.) Benefits range from $152-$405 per week.

Looks like you must call in to get the benefits, there is no online option. As the DOL puts it:
“You must first file for regular unemployment insurance by calling the NYS Department of Labor at 1-888-209-8124 or 1-877-358-5306 (if you live out of state). Answer the questions to indicate that you lost your job as a direct result of the effects of Hurricane Sandy.”

The website doesn’t say exactly, but we’re pretty sure there’s no “waiting week” like there is in regular unemployment benefits.

And:
“To apply, you should have the following information ready and available:
• Your Social Security number
• Your mailing address and zip code
• A telephone number where you can be reached for additional information
• Your NYS driver’s license or Motor Vehicle ID card number, if you have one
• Your alien registration card number, if you have one
• The names and addresses of all employers you worked for within the 18 months prior to October 29, 2012, including those in other states.”
Here is the FAQ

The application deadline is December 3, 2012.

You can collect DUA benefits for a maximum of 27 weeks, from Oct 29 until May, 2013. (This means if you were going to start at specific job during that time, but now can’t, you may be eligible.

Self-employed people such as small business owners or independent contractors may be eligible as well.

The program is federally funded, so it doesn’t affect businesses if their workers get the benefits (so, business folks out there should encourage their workers to get these benefits.)

Here is the instructions

In addition, many of our members should be available for Emergency Food Stamps. You can call 311 to find your local food stamp center; or you can find it online by clicking HERE. It is for people affected by the storm and all you need is a valid social security number and proof of address.

November 5th, 2012

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About Pratt Disaster Resilience Network

Grassroots action and long-term planning for disaster resilience for all.

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