Ann A. Berry | 10/12/2005 2:22:16 AM
After a disaster strikes, whether it is a hurricane, flood or tornado, you could find yourself without a job and needing a source of income. The Louisiana Department of Labor responds to disasters with unemployment insurance benefits and disaster unemployment assistance.
LSU AgCenter family economics professor Dr. Ann Berry says unemployment insurance is a program designed to provide temporary financial assistance to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and who meet the requirements of the Louisiana Employment Security Law.
Individuals who were receiving unemployment benefits prior to the disaster can pick up their checks at the state Department of Labor office located at 1001 North 23rd Street in Baton Rouge. You must present proper identification in order to get your check.
You also may call 800.524.3578 to have your check sent to you. If you have had to evacuate your home and may not be able to go back to your home for an extended period, you may want to change your address through the post office. You may want to get a post office box or use the address of friends or relatives who can get your mail to you. To file a change of address, go by any post office or online www.usps.com or phone 800.275.8777.
Even if you were not receiving unemployment benefits prior to the disaster, Berry says you may be able to receive disaster unemployment assistance. You can go to the nearest One Stop or Job Center to file your claim. If you have access to the Internet, you may file for benefits at http://www.laworks.net. Contact the Office of Unemployment Insurance directly by calling 225.342.2811 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To file, you will need proof of identification, such as a driver’s license. You will need to provide information about the employers for whom you worked during the last 18 months. If you served in the military or worked for the federal government, proof of wages or other documentation will help, but don’t delay filing if you don’t have this documentation.
Many of the businesses that have been affected by the disaster may have sister companies in other cities around the state and nation. If you are employed by a company that has other locations, contact the office nearest to where you evacuated. There may be a place for you to work in your new location.
For information on related hurricane recovery topics, click on the links at the LSU AgCenter home page, at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.