Deadline nears for flood victims to apply for unemployment

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 11:45pm
Staff reports

With the announcement Wednesday that Gaylord Opryland would be laying off more than 1,700 workers from the flooded resort, the lines at disaster unemployment assistance offices may get a little longer.

But the deadline to file for disaster unemployment assistance is drawing near. Anyone whose income was affected by severe storms and flooding who lives in a county declared a federal disaster area is eligible.

Benefits are administered by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development through a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Disaster unemployment can extend for up to 26 weeks from the day the disaster is declared.

“This is a direct line of assistance for those who are out of work due to this natural disaster,” said Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development James Neeley. “These counties are the starting point, and we’ll open this assistance to other counties as they are declared disaster areas by FEMA.”

You can apply by calling (877) 813-0950 or 235-0800 (in Nashville). Help is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In Davidson County, the deadline is June 7. Other counties facing a June 7 deadline include: Benton, Carroll, Cheatham, Crockett, Decatur, Dickson, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Henderson, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Madison, Maury, McNairy, Montgomery, Obion, Perry, Rutherford, Shelby, Sumner, Tipton and Williamson counties.

A June 9 deadline looms for Chester, Clay, DeKalb, Hardin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lewis, Macon, Robertson, Smith, Stewart, Trousdale, Wayne and Wilson counties. And June 21 is the magic date for Cannon, Giles and Marshall counties.

Individuals who are not covered for regular unemployment benefits may qualify for disaster unemployment benefits. This includes self-employed workers and others not covered by the state unemployment insurance program whose source of income has been interrupted by the disaster damage.

You must also have exhausted state unemployment eligibility and worked or lived in a designated county.

FEMA closing six disaster recovery centers

Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Wednesday that it will be closing six disaster recovery centers in the coming days.

None of the affected closures are in Davidson County.

The centers will remain open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through the schedule closure date.

Centers slated to close June 3 include operations in Houston, Maury and Smith Counties. Facilities in Humphreys, Perry and Dickson counties will close June 4.

Survivors of the severe storms and flooding that occurred between April 30 and May 18, 2010, who have outstanding questions, are urged to visit the centers before they close to meet one-on-one with recovery specialists about specific disaster-related needs.

Applicants also can check on their application or available assistance by using the FEMA helpline option at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) for people with speech or hearing disabilities. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. On the Web, disaster information remains available 24 hours a day at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.