MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – FOX10 News is committed to getting the facts about how the government’s response to the coronavirus affects regular people.
Here is investigative reporter Brendan Kirby with Tuesday’s installment, which includes information related to Hurricane Sally.
QUESTION: Give us an update on unemployment benefits for people whose jobs have been impacted by Hurricane Sally.
BRENDAN: If you became unemployed as a direct result of the storm, you may qualify for assistance if you live in Baldwin, Mobile or Escambia counties under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program.
These are the counites listed in President Donald Trump’s disaster declaration a week ago Sunday.
The Alabama Department of Labor says people getting unemployment usually are not eligible for the DUA program. But if you have exhausted your state unemployment benefits, you may qualify.
You can file a claim if any of the following apply:
- You lost your job; you can’t reach your place of employment.
- You were scheduled to start a job in the affected counties but that job no longer exists.
- You became the breadwinner because a family member died.
- You became injured during the storm and can’t work.
Tara Hutchison, a spokeswoman for the unemployment agency, told FOX10 News that about 120 people have applied for benefits under this program. The deadline for filing one of these claims is Oct. 28 – and it will be retroactive to the date you lost your job because of the storm. You can apply online at labor.alabama.gov or by calling 866-234-5382.
QUESTION: There is also an important deadline coming up for COVID-related unemployment claims.
BRENDAN: That date is Oct. 3, this coming Saturday. That’s when the current quarter ends.
That means if you are getting unemployment under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program or the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, the state is required under federal law to re-assess your eligibility.
The good news is that this doesn’t require any action on your part. The state Department of Labor will do that automatically. You might remain eligible for those programs, or you may be required to change to regular unemployment compensation. And your Weekly Benefit Amount might change. If you are deemed ineligible for regular unemployment, you may still be able to be paid under PUA or PEUC – as long as you still qualify.
You can see when you benefit year ends on the Claim Tracker.
But the most important thing to do is to keep recertifying your claim each week. Most people who don’t get paid are not getting the money because they’ve lapsed in recertifying. You can call 800-752-7389. If you have a PUA claim, recertify by phone, the PUA app, or online at https://pua.labor.alabama.gov.
(If you have a #COVIDINFO question for investigative reporter Brendan Kirby, email him at Brendan.Kirby@fox10tv.com)