Sevier County Authorized for Disaster Unemployment Benefits

Friday, December 16, 2016 | 3:12pm

Federal Disaster Declaration Follows Historic Wildfire in Gatlinburg

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) Commissioner Burns Phillips announced today disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) benefits are now available for workers in Sevier County who are dislocated as a direct result of the wildfire in Gatlinburg on November 28, 2016. 

The federal declaration number for this disaster is FEMA-4293-DR.

TDLWD administers the program on behalf of the federal government.  Persons unemployed as a direct result of the wildfire must file their claim for DUA benefits by January 16, 2017, which is 30 days from the date of this announcement.

TDLWD will process all DUA claims filed after the wildfire first under the eligibility requirements of a standard Tennessee unemployment claim (TUC).  If the claim does not meet TUC standards, it will then be processed as a DUA claim.

Individuals who typically are not covered for regular unemployment benefits may qualify for disaster unemployment benefits.  This includes self-employed workers and others not covered under the state unemployment insurance program, whose source of income has been interrupted by the disaster.

If possible, individuals should have their 2015 federal income tax return, Social Security number, and any paperwork that documents their wage and employment information prior to the disaster.

Weekly DUA benefits may range from an estimated $116 to $275 per week and are payable up to 28 weeks after the day of the declaration, which was December 15, 2016.  A person’s DUA benefits will end if unemployment is no longer a direct result of the disaster.

Individuals who are unemployed as a result of the wildfire should log onto www.Jobs4TN.gov to file their DUA claim with the state of Tennessee.  They may also visit the American Job Center at 1216 Graduate Drive in Sevierville, where staff members can assist them in the filing process.

In anticipation of a federal disaster declaration, TDLWD accepted claims earmarked for disaster assistance.  As of December 16, 2016, approximately 1,000 persons have applied for DUA benefits in Tennessee.  If the federal government had not declared Sevier County a disaster, the state would have processed those claims as a normal unemployment claim and eligible dislocated workers would have received benefits in accordance to federal and state laws.

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Labor & Workforce Development