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Posted: May 4, 2011 3:50 p.m.

Lost wages to storms? Get help

Newton County residents who lost income from the severe storms that struck last week may be eligible for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

Disaster Unemployment is a federal program to help workers whose primary income is lost or interrupted as a direct result of a disaster declared by the President. It differs from state unemployment insurance in that it provides benefits to self-employed business people, farmers, diversified farming operators, loggers, commission-paid employees and others who are not eligible for the state's program. The maximum weekly benefit amount is $330.

"We want to make sure that citizens in the declared disaster areas know that Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to help those who have lost their incomes due to the storms," State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a release on Wednesday. "Anyone who might be eligible should visit one of our offices, or temporary assistance centers, to find out."

Residents in 25 Georgia counties impacted by the storms are eligible, including residents of Greene, Lamar, Monroe, Morgan, Polk and Spalding counties.

Business owners and workers impacted by the storm in Newton County should apply for benefits by Friday, June 3. Claims may be filed at any of the Georgia Department of Labor career centers. Newton County is served by the Covington Career Center, 7249 Industrial Blvd., N.E., Covington, (770) 784-2455.

Claims must be filed in person. Applicants will need to provide their social security number and government issued photo identification. You also should bring proof of earnings for the most recently completed tax year. Examples of acceptable documents include: copies of their most recently completed income tax returns, copies of quarterly estimated income tax payment records, or similar documents.

Potentially eligible workers should contact the nearest Georgia Department of Labor office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. To obtain career center information, individuals may visit the Georgia Department of Labor's website www.dol.state.ga.us or contact the toll-free customer service line at (877) 709-8158.

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