FEMA: Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available To Storm Victims

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ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - There is more help available to the victims of last month's deadly storms. A FEMA representative says Disaster Unemployment Assistance became available when President Obama designated certain portions of the state a disaster area. WHNT News 19 sought to learn how that differs from regular unemployment assistance.

Disaster unemployment benefits are altogether different from state unemployment benefits. In fact, if you qualify for one, you probably don't qualify for the other. This is federal money administered by the state.

"This is for people who say are self-employed and they cannot work or they had to move out of their office or their office is their home and they can't work out of their home. or people who have a job somewhere and the business was either damaged or flattened or destroyed by the severe weather," according to FEMA spokesperson Nathan Custer.

One glaring difference is people who were injured and unable to work will typically not qualify for state unemployment benefits. You must be able to work to get that. But federal disaster unemployment benefits are available to those injured during the storm.

"Because of the nature of the storm, something totally beyond your control, here's a case where the government is going to come in and give you a little extra help," Custer says.

To apply, you register through the state. It is separate from applying for federal disaster assistance. For more information, or to apply for disaster unemployment benefits, click here or call 1-800-234-5382 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday.

The deadline for applying for Disaster Unemployment Assistance is different from the deadline for applying for FEMA disaster assistance. Limestone County residents have only until June 3rd to apply. Residents of Dekalb and Etowah counties have until June 9th.