The Texas Workforce Commission is urging qualified workers who lost employment due to Hurricane Rita to file by Nov. 30 for disaster relief. While nothing can totally replace a lost job, temporary relief is available to qualified individuals through the TWC. Residents who are out of work due to the storms and flooding caused by Hurricane Rita may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
So far, TWC has provided more than $14.3 million in UI and DUA benefits to those who filed claims. Workers who believe they may be eligible but have not yet filed need to act quickly.
According to TWC, workers have until Nov. 30, 2005, to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) under Presidential Disaster Declaration FEMA-1606-DR.
The declaration includes workers affected by Hurricane Rita in the following Texas counties: Angelina, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, Tyler and Walker. To file for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), applicants must first file for UI.
To determine eligibility for UI and to begin the filing process, workers should visit www.texasworkforce.org or call 1-800-939-6631. They should have the following information ready:
• Social Security number
• Last employer’s business name and address
• Date (month, day and year) you began working for your last employer
• Last date you performed work for your last employer
• Alien registration number (if not a U.S. citizen or national)
Often, business owners who are self-employed are not aware of potential benefits to which they may be entitled. If you are self-employed, but have lost all or part of your livelihood as a result of this disaster, you may well be eligible for benefits. You must provide income tax forms (Schedules SE and Schedule C or Schedule F) or other proof of your self-employment to receive disaster unemployment benefits.
Those affected by Hurricane Rita can file a UI claim online at www.texasworkforce.org or call the TWC Tele-Center network at one of the numbers listed below Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., to talk with a representative or file a claim.
Austin local: (512) 340-4300
Dallas local: (214) 252-1200
El Paso local: (915) 832-6400
Fort Worth local: (817) 420-1600
Houston local (281) 983-1100
McAllen local (956) 984-4700
San Antonio local: (210) 258-6600
Others call toll free: (800) 939-6631
In addition to providing UI to eligible workers, TWC and the state’s 28 local workforce boards have programs in place to assist East and Southeast Texas residents in finding employment.
Job seekers can visit workforce centers in their area and around Texas for access to WorkInTexas.com, TWC’s online job-matching resource, training programs, assistance with résumé and application preparation and career development, and financial and stress management counseling.
They also can connect with potential employers through www.WorkInTexas.com, Texas’ comprehensive, easy-to-use, and no-cost online employment resource. The site boasts more than 59,000 job postings with more than 127,000 employers.