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Deadline nears for Ivan assistance

DEMOPOLIS – A deadline is approaching for one phase of federal and state disaster assistance that could benefit Black Belt workers.

Alabamians who have lost their source of income due to Hurricane Ivan may be eligible to receive disaster unemployment assistance even if they would not normally be eligible for state unemployment compensation, said FEMA Public Information Officer Barb Sturner.

The deadline for people in Marengo, Hale, Perry, Greene and Sumter counties to apply is Oct. 22.

“If someone was unable to work because of the storm they may be eligible for benefits,” she said.

Sturner said that the disaster unemployment benefits extended to self-employed workers who normally aren’t eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

“In the northern part of the

disaster area, that unemployment is due more to power outages, but it’s an opportunity for people who are impacted to get a little help,” she said.

Federal disaster assistance extends income compensation to self-employed people, farm workers and others.

Applications for disaster unemployment can be made by calling the Alabama Dept. of Industrial Relations at 1-866-234-5382.

“Replacing lost income jump-starts recovery on the individual level,” said State Coordinating Officer Bruce Baughman, who directs the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

“The state is committed to working with our federal partners to provide Alabamians with the means necessary to begin recovery,” he said.

Disaster unemployment is funded by FEMA and administered through ADIR.

– Clif Lusk