By: Ty Hyderally, Esq., Nina Lucibello, Francine Foner, Esq.
On September 1, 2021, Hurricane Ida swept through New Jersey, destroying many residents’ homes, vehicles, and more. As a result of this devastating storm, many employees are still having trouble working or getting to work. On September 5, 2021, President Biden declared that a major disaster existed and ordered Federal aid to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected.
Due to this order, New Jersey residents may be eligible for federal disaster unemployment benefits if they lost work due to the remnants of the storm and live in one of the following counties: Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union and Warren. In order to qualify for the unemployment benefits, one of the following requirements must be met:
It is also important to emphasize individuals who were personally affected by the storm and are physically unable to make it to work as a result, are also eligible for benefits even if their workplace did not close due to the storm. This is especially important for employees who are unable to perform their job functions remotely and are unable to make it to work (e.g., essential workers).
Moreover, this federal funding is intended for individuals who are ineligible for normal unemployment benefits. Normal unemployment benefits are meant for individuals who lose their job through no fault of their own. This does not include individuals who voluntarily quit or are terminated for misconduct. Now, if an individual cannot carry out their job duties due to complications from the storm, but do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, they may be eligible for federal disaster unemployment benefits.
In times of tragedy, it is crucial for employees to understand their rights and eligibility for benefits. To apply for federal disaster unemployment benefits, visit: https://www.myunemployment.nj.gov/before/circumstances/disaster/.
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