Disaster Unemployment Assistance available to Ohioans in disaster areas

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COLUMBUS – Because Ohio Governor Mike DeWine asked for and received a federal disaster declaration, Disaster Unemployment Assistance is now available for eligible individuals who lost their jobs as a result of the severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and landslides that damaged 10 Ohio counties on May 27 and 28, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced Thursday.

Individuals who became unemployed as a direct result of the storms but who are ineligible for regular unemployment benefits may qualify. This includes self-employed workers, farmers and anyone who was prevented from starting employment or self-employment because of the storms in Auglaize, Darke, Greene, Hocking, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Muskingum, Perry and Pickaway counties. Applications must be filed by July 22, 2019.

“We hope this temporary assistance will help bring families stability as they work to either secure new employment or return to their careers,” said ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall. “These storms were devastating, and it will take a coordinated federal, state and local effort to help those affected recover.”

To be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits under Presidential Disaster Declaration FEMA-4447-DR, individuals:

– Must be an unemployed or self-unemployed worker whose unemployment was caused as a direct result of the major disaster declared by the President;

– Must be a U.S. national or a qualified alien; and

– Must not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits from any state; and

– Must have worked or were self-employed in, or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment in, one of the counties listed above; and

– Must establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their primary source of income.

Also eligible to apply are individuals who:

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

– cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster; or

– became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of the household; or,

– cannot work or perform self-employment due to closure of a facility by the federal government.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and administered by ODJFS with guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor. Benefits may be available for up to 29 weeks, beginning the first full week after the storms. Anyone interested in applying should call 1-877-644-6562 toll-free by July 22, 2019.

Free career and employment services also are available at OhioMeansJobs.com and local OhioMeansJobs centers. For local office contact information, visit jfs.ohio.gov/county.

ODJFS is providing other assistance to those affected by the storms, as well. For example, at a Mobile Career Resource Center in Montgomery County, individuals can receive free help writing resumes, searching for jobs, and exploring career and training options. Businesses can use the center for recruiting, pre-employment screening, interviewing and training, as well.

ODJFS also is providing federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Disaster Assistance and state-funded Non-TANF Disaster Assistance to help low-income individuals who were adversely affected by the storms. Anyone who thinks they may be eligible should apply at their local JFS agency.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services manages vital programs that strengthen Ohio families. These include job training and employment services, unemployment insurance, cash and food assistance, child care, child and adult protective services, adoption, and child support services.

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