ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — The Mississippi Department of Employment Security has begun accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance from those living or working in counties that received a federal disaster declaration because of tornadoes and straight-line winds.
President Barack Obama declared 11 Mississippi counties eligible for individual assistance, opening the door to affected workers to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance. As of May 2, this declaration includes Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clarke, Greene, Hinds, Jasper, Kemper, Lafayette, Monroe, Neshoba and Webster counties.
Affected workers have until June 1, 2011 to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
Self-employed workers also may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
Workers can apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Mississippi Department of Employment Security website — mdes.ms.gov. Workers also may call the agency’s call centers — 601-855-3133 or toll-free 1-888-844-3577 — between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Workers who do not qualify for the state’s regular unemployment insurance program may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. This includes workers who:
• Are unemployed as a direct result of the disaster.
• Cannot work or perform jobs because of disaster-related injuries.
• Are unable to reach their workplaces or job sites because of the disaster.
• Were to have started work, but are unable to get to or perform their jobs.
• Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because the head of household died as a result of the disaster.
U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen G. Mills said the SBA is committed to assisting the state. The affected counties are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.
In addition to the counties in the disaster declaration, small businesses and most private non-profit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Attala, Calhoun, Claiborne, Clay, Copiah, George, Grenada, Itawamba, Jones, Lauderdale, Leake, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Newton, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Panola, Perry, Pontotoc, Rankin, Scott, Simpson, Smith, Tate, Union, Warren, Wayne, Winston, Yalobusha and Yazoo.
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.
Businesses and private non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. The SBA may increase a loan up to 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA, to make improvements that lessen the risk of property damage by future disasters of the same kind.
For small businesses and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is June 28. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Jan. 30, 2012.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced HUD would speed federal disaster assistance to the state and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes.
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Mississippi Department of Employment Security