LUMBERTON — Robeson County residents who have become unemployed as a result of Hurricane Matthew may be eligible for federal employment assistance.
Robeson County, along with more than 20 other North Carolina counties, are eligible for federally-funded Disaster Unemployment Assistance through the U.S. Department of Labor.
Anyone who is unable to work because of Hurricane Matthew must apply for benefits by Nov. 14. Business owners and people who are self-employed may also qualify for benefits.
In order to apply, employees or business owners must first file for regular unemployment insurance benefits. If you are denied or have exhausted those benefits, you can apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
Eligible applicants include those who can’t work because they were injured during a disaster; those who cannot reach their place of employment because they must pass through a disaster-affected area; those who were to begin employment but can’t because of a disaster; and those who have become the main income-provider of a household because of a disaster-related death or injury.
Gov. Pat McCrory has waived a one-week waiting period typically required to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available for up to 26 weeks beginning Oct. 9, as long as the person remains unemployed because of Hurricane Matthew. The weekly benefit amount is computed in the same way as regular unemployment benefits. The average weekly insured wage is calculated by dividing the total wages reported by all covered employers for a calendar year by the average monthly number of employees during that year and dividing that number by 52.
To apply, call the Division of Employment Security at 1-866-795-8877 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Individuals will need their Social Security number, copies of their most recent federal income tax forms or check stubs, or documentation to support they were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred. If you are self-employed, you will be required to submit your most recent Federal Income Tax returns and/or a profit and loss statement to establish your weekly amount.
For information, email [email protected] or visit ncesc.com.