Workers and self-employed people whose employment was affected due to the Noble wildfire in late July and early August have until Nov. 1 to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said Tuesday.
The assistance is available because the federal government last week approved disaster aid for Cleveland County, reversing its initial decision after the state appealed. Scores of homes and structures were damaged or destroyed and one person died in the Cleveland County fire.
To be eligible for the assistance, applicants must meet at least one of the following conditions:
— They worked or had been scheduled to work in the disaster area but no longer have a job or place to work in the area, or have been unable to get to work, because of disaster damage.
— They were prevented from working by injury or illness directly caused by the disaster.
— They have become head of a household and need employment because the head of the household died due to the disaster.
If you are self-employed and have lost all or part of your livelihood as a result of this disaster, you may be eligible for benefits. Self-employed workers must provide federal income tax forms (Schedule SE and either Schedule C or Schedule F) to receive disaster unemployment benefits.
Those who believe they may be eligible for assistance should call the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Unemployment Insurance Service Center at (800) 555-1554 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. When calling, individuals should have their Social Security number and the name and address of their last employer or prospective employer.
Claims filed after Nov. 1 will be considered untimely and benefits will be denied unless the individual provides good cause for filing after this date. The first possible week of compensation is the week ending Aug. 11, 2012, and the last possible week of compensation is the week ending Feb. 23, 2013.