ATLANTA — State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said today that workers in three additional Georgia counties – Carroll, Chattooga, and Stephens — may now be eligible for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to compensate for loss of income directly resulting from the severe storms and flooding beginning on September 18, 2009, and continuing. Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas and Paulding were approved earlier, bringing the total to seven Georgia counties. Presently, these are the only counties authorized for DUA benefits, but other counties may be added as federal officials assess the damage.

“Business owners and workers in Carroll, Chattooga, and Stephens counties impacted by the storm are encouraged to apply for these benefits no later than Monday, October 26, 2009,” said Thurmond.

DUA is a federal program established to help workers whose primary income is lost or interrupted as a direct result of a disaster declared by the President. DUA differs from state unemployment insurance in that it also provides benefits to self-employed business people, farmers, diversified farming operators, loggers, commission-paid employees and others who are not eligible for Georgia’s regular unemployment insurance program.

In applying for DUA benefits, applicants will need to provide their social security number. Because verification of income may be required, applicants are strongly urged to bring proof of earnings for the most recently completed tax year. Examples of acceptable documents include: copies of their most recently completed income tax returns, copies of quarterly estimated income tax payment records, or similar documents.

Under certain circumstance, DUA benefits may also be available to individuals who become the breadwinner or major support of a household because the head of household has died as direct result of the disaster.

Potentially eligible workers should contact their nearest Georgia Department of Labor Career Center Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Workers may call the Georgia Department of Labor’s toll-free customer service line at (877) 709-8185 or visit www.dol.state.ga.us to obtain career center information.