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Financial assistance available for some storm victims

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla._Disaster Unemployment Assistance may be available for workers and self-employed individuals who lost their livelihood as a result of the storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding from May 5 until June 4.

DUA, which is funded by FEMA and administered by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, is for those who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance. To be eligible for assistance, workers must be unemployed as a direct result of the disaster. Additionally, one of the following conditions of unemployment or inability to work as a self-employed individual must have occurred:

  • Worked in, or were scheduled to begin work in, an area declared as a federal disaster area.
  • Were self-employed in, or were scheduled to begin self-employment in, an area declared as a federal disaster area.
  • The individual is unable to work because he/she is injured as a direct result of the disaster;
  • The individual became the major support of the household because the head of the household died as a direct result of the disaster;
  • The individual lost a majority of income or revenue because the employer or self-employed business was damaged, destroyed, or closed by the federal government.

Workers have 30 days to file their claim once DUA availability is announced.

Oklahoma deadlines are as follows:

  • July 1, 2015 – Cleveland, Grady and Oklahoma counties;
  • July 6, 2015 – Atoka, Bryan, Comanche, Johnston, Kiowa, Le Flore, McClain, McCurtain, Pittsburg and Pottawatomie counties;
  • July 15, 2015 – Beckham, Caddo, Canadian, Marshall, McIntosh, Seminole and Wagoner counties; and
  • July 18, 2015 – Cotton, Choctaw, Rogers and Tillman counties.

The first possible week of compensation for DUA purposes is the week ending May 16, 2015, and the last possible week of compensation is the week ending November 28, 2015.

If you believe you may be eligible for DUA, call the OESC Unemployment Insurance Service Center at 1-800-555-1554, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to begin the claim process.

When calling to apply for benefits, individuals should have their Social Security number available, as well as the name and address of their last employer or prospective employer.

Individuals looking for jobs or employers in need of workers should contact their nearest Workforce Oklahoma Center. Potential workers and employers can also connect via the OESC website.

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