Hurricane Irma has been a devastating experience for many citizens of Florida this month. It is estimated that the hurricane caused damages of $120 billion, and over 26 million people were affected by the storm. The storm itself was close to 400 miles wide, and it was the first hurricane in history to remain a category five for three full days.
Millions of people throughout the state are currently still without shelter, power, and running water. Many are unclear if, and when, they will be able to return to work. It is important for the citizens of Florida to understand what assistance and benefits are available to them before time runs out to apply.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is provided to individuals who are unemployed after a major disaster and do not qualify for regular state assistance. This includes people that are self-employed, fisherman, and farm workers. An official declaration of a major disaster needs to be signed by the President of the United States before any programs can become available.
As of September 19th the following counties in Florida have been approved to accept applications for DUA:
Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Orange, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union and Volusia counties.
You must meet certain criteria to apply for DUA:
Full information can be found on the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website. You may also call Monday through Friday – 1-800-385-3920 from 8am to 5pm.
To apply you will need to provide your social security number and the name and address of your employer. If you are a non-U.S. citizen you will need your alien registration number and expiration date. If you are self-employed you will need to prove your employment was directly affected by the disaster.
The most important deadline is that you must file by October 16th. Failure to file by this date will most likely result in you not qualifying for assistance.
Benefits will run from September 10, 2017 through March 17, 2018, or as soon as employment resumes.
Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC is dedicated to ensuring that everyone receives the full benefits that they deserve. They are available for free consultations if you believe that you have been discriminated against and did not receive full employee benefits.
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