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Those living in Butler County whose livelihood was, or continues being affected by the March flooding, now have the opportunity to apply for disaster unemployment assistance being provided through the federal government through April 26.

Nebraska Labor Commissioner John H. Albin last week announced that workers who became unemployed as a direct result of flooding in the state may qualify for unemployment assistance, according to information provided by the Nebraska Department of Labor. The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program was triggered when President Donald Trump designated portions of the state a disaster area on March 21.

People who live in or worked in Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Nemaha, Sarpy, Saunders, or Washington counties, and whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted due to the flooding, may be eligible for assistance. On Sunday, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced six additional counties will be eligible for disaster assistance. These are Boone, Buffalo, Custer, Knox, Richardson and Thurston Counties, along with the Santee Sioux Nation.

The March 27 release regarding disaster unemployment assistance, though, only mentioned the original nine qualifying counties.

“FEMA is continuing to review counties for individual assistance and they will be added as they qualify. The Department of Labor will provide updates should additional counties become eligible,” said Commissioner Albin, through a released statement.

The first week of unemployment eligible for DUA is the week of the March 10 - March 16. The process for filing is the same as regular unemployment insurance benefits. Claims should be filed online at NEworks.nebraska.gov. All DUA applicants will be required to provide documents to verify wages.

“Even if an applicant doesn’t qualify for DUA, he or she can still take advantage of the resources and services provided by our job centers throughout the state,” Albin added.

A listing of job centers is available at https://dol.nebraska.gov/Home/AboutUs.

To be eligible for DUA benefits under the Presidential Disaster Declaration, individuals must be an unemployed worker whose unemployment was caused as a direct result of the major disaster declared by Trump; be a U.S. national or a qualified immigrant; not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits from any state; have worked or been self-employed in, or scheduled to begin work or self-employment in, one of the counties listed above; and establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their primary source of income.

Also eligible to apply for DUA are individuals who can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of a disaster; cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury caused 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.

DUA applicants will need their Social Security Number and the name and address of their last employer or prospective employer to file for DUA, according to released information. Applicants are required to provide proof (at the time of filing or within 21 days of filing their DUA claim) that they were employed or self-employed at the time the disaster occurred or were scheduled to begin (or resume) a job or self-employment when the disaster occurred.

A copy of the most recent federal income tax forms or check stubs may also be required (self-employed individuals should also provide Schedules SE and Schedule C or Schedule F.)

Individuals can generally receive up to 26 weeks of DUA benefits as long as unemployment continues to be a result of the disaster. General information about DUA can be found at https://dol.nebraska.gov/UIBenefits/Programs/DUA.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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