Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that federal disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) is now available for residents of Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, and Ulster counties who lost their job or income due to Hurricane Sandy.
Disaster unemployment benefits are available to provide financial support to anyone who has lost their job and live or work in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.
"This vital aid will help New Yorkers who lost their jobs as a result of Hurricane Sandy begin to rebuild their lives," Governor Cuomo said. "We will continue to do all we can to help those affected by the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Sandy, and I am pleased that residents in additional counties will now be eligible for this federal aid."
Last week, Governor Cuomo announced an extension from December 3, 2012 to February 4, 2013 to apply for DUA. Claimants have up to 90 days to submit proof of employment or self-employment and will be provided an IRS link to expedite the retrieval of lost or destroyed tax documents.
This assistance supplements New Yorks existing unemployment insurance system and expands eligibility to include individuals who might otherwise not be covered. The Federal Government has committed to providing additional assistance as the demand for these services is identified.
Since DUA relief was announced, the Department of Labor has received more than 27,500 calls for disaster related unemployment assistance. More than 4,600 individuals have filed for disaster unemployment assistance and over 18,100 have filed for regular Unemployment Benefits resulting from the storm.
Anyone unemployed as a result of Hurricane Sandy can submit a claim to the Department of Labor. The criterion for collecting disaster assistance is broader than for collecting regular unemployment benefits. Specifically, an individual can collect disaster assistance in any of the following cases:
- Injured in the disaster and unable to work, whether the person is an employee or self-employed.
- Workplace is damaged, or destroyed, or the person cannot work because of the disaster.
- Transportation to work is not available because of the disaster.
- Cannot get to work because they must travel through the affected area, which is impossible due to disaster.
- Scheduled to begin working, but cannot because of the disaster.
- Derived most of income from areas affected by the disaster, and business is closed or inoperable because of the disaster.
- Is not otherwise eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
Examples of self-employment include small business owners, independent taxi drivers, vendors, independent commercial fisherman and farmers.
State Department of Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera said, Losing your home or seeing your property destroyed is bad enough, but losing your job makes a situation like that so much worse. Im pleased we can extend this assistance to more New Yorkers in need.
To apply for unemployment benefits or disaster unemployment assistance, those affected by the storm and have lost their job or income should call the Telephone Claims Center (TCC) at 1-888-209-8124, or 1-877-358-5306 if they live out of state. Applicants should answer the questions to indicate they lost their job due to Hurricane Sandy. In order to receive benefits you must apply by February 4, 2013.