Hurricane Sandy Victims Can Get Unemployment Help

Hurricane Sandy Rockaway Beach Queens

By Tami Luhby

NEW YORK -- Residents of three states pummeled by Hurricane Sandy could be eligible for disaster assistance payments if they lost their job due to the storm.

To qualify for the funds, people must be unemployed as a direct result of the storm and be ineligible for traditional unemployment benefits, according to the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group. Residents of New York City and 14 counties in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that were declared federal disaster areas are eligible.

One of the costliest disasters in the nation's history, Sandy could generate nearly $50 billion in losses, both from physical damage and lost business revenue, according to estimates.

Payments, which can last up to 26 weeks, range from $405 a week in New York to $648 in Connecticut. Recipients must show that for every week that they collect DUA, their unemployment continues to be the direct result of the disaster, not other factors.

According to NELP, those who may be eligible for disaster relief and typically could not collect regular state unemployment benefits include:
  • Self-employed people who lost their business or suffered a substantial interruption of activities as a direct result of a major disaster.

  • Unemployed workers who have become the major supporter of their household due to the death of the head of their household directly related to the disaster.

  • Workers unemployed due to an injury caused by the disaster.

  • Workers who cannot reach their employment as a result of the disaster.

  • People who were scheduled to start work but became unemployed because they no longer have a job due to the disaster.

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