Governor Doyle Obtains Disaster Unemployment Assistance for an Additional Five Wisconsin Counties

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle announced today that individuals in Dodge, Green, Washington, Waukesha, and Winnebago counties affected by the recent severe storms and floods that began on June 5, 2008 will be eligible to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

These five counties are in addition to the seven counties the Governor announced Disaster Unemployment Assistance for earlier this week: Columbia, Crawford, Racine, Richland, Milwaukee, Sauk, and Vernon counties.  DUA benefits are available to unemployed workers who worked or were self employed if they:

    • worked or were self employed, or were scheduled to begin work or self employment, in one of the affected counties; or were unable to reach their employment because they must travel though the affected area;

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

    • establish the work or self employment they can no longer perform was their primary source of income;

    • do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits from any state;

    • cannot perform work or self employment because of an injury or because they were incapacitated as a direct result of the disaster;

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

    • cannot work or perform self employment due to closure of a facility by the federal government; or

    • lost a majority of income or revenue because the employer or self employment business was damaged, destroyed, or closed by the federal government.

DUA benefits are not payable if an individual is eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits.  This program provides benefits for those who lost employment because of the disaster and do not qualify for regular benefits.  Suffering a monetary loss due to damage to property or crops does not automatically entitle an individual to Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

Benefits are based on a person’s earnings for the most recent tax year.  As a result, applicants will be asked to furnish earnings data from their 2007 federal tax returns when filing a claim.  The unemployment benefit can range from $134 to $355 per week.  The first potential week payable for DUA benefits is the week of June 8, 2008 through June 14, 2008.

Workers in the five counties declared disaster areas today, including those who are self-employed in farming or other businesses, must apply for benefits by July 19, 2008.  Workers in the seven previously declared counties have until July 16, 2008 to apply.  Applications can be filed by calling the Unemployment Insurance Division in Madison at (608) 232-0678, in Milwaukee at (414) 438-7700, or toll-free at 1-800-822-5246.  A special (TTY) number for the hearing impaired is also available at 1-888-393-8914.

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