2012-11-29 / News

Benefits for hurricane-related unemployment

The state of Rhode Island recently announced that federal assistance is now available to Rhode Islanders in Newport County who have lost their jobs as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

Workers may apply for benefits if they have lost their job or major source of income because of the storm, or if their business is closed or inoperable because of the disaster. Also, workers who are unable to travel to their workplace because of storm-related damage or other transportation disruption may apply.

“Disaster unemployment assistance can provide important financial assistance to Rhode Islanders still recovering from the effects of the recent storm,” said Gov. Lincoln Chafee. “In particular, this can help self-employed workers who are not normally covered by regular unemployment insurance.”

The criterion for collecting the benefits is broader than for collecting regular unemployment and includes self-employed workers, such as small business owners, vendors, independent commercial fisherman and farmers, and those who may not qualify for regular unemployment benefits due to the storm.

Individuals seeking assistance should file online for regular unemployment insurance at DLT. ri.gov and indicate that the reason for their unemployment is due to the storm. These individuals will then be contacted by the department on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Under the federal guidelines, the earliest start date for Rhode Island based benefits claims is Oct. 28, and the first payable week of benefits is November 3. Impacted workers may be entitled to up to 27 weeks of benefits. In Rhode Island, Sandy-related benefits conclude the week ending May 4, 2013. Affected workers may file an application through Feb. 4, 2013.

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