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Information for those Affected by Natural Disasters

Information for those Affected by Natural Disasters

Missourians in 33 counties whose employment was lost or interrupted due to severe storms and flooding from Dec. 23 to Jan. 9, 2015 may apply for up to 26 weeks of Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Click here to learn more.

When natural disasters like droughts, floods, tornadoes, severe storms, and earthquakes strike; the damage can be overwhelming. The Department of Labor can assist in many different ways with unemployment assistance, guidance on building laws surrounding community restoration and injuries that result from reconstruction, and helping victims who may experience discrimination while relocating to a safer area. For more information about safe drinking water, land reclamation, etc., view DNR's Disaster Publication Packet.

The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has press releases and situation reports available online.

How the Department can help:

Unemployment Assistance
Rebuilding Damaged Communities
Injuries on the Job While Rebuilding
Discrimination Protection

Unemployment Assistance

If you lose your job as a result of a natural disaster, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. If the president declares a major disaster for your county, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), may be available. To apply for DUA, you MUST first file a regular unemployment claim to get into the system. These claims MUST be filed by calling the Regional Claims Center. For more information, read the informational pamphlet Disaster Unemployment Assistance (MODES-INF-178). Individuals who may be eligible for DUA should call 800-788-4002 for information about filing a claim.

Rebuilding Damaged Communities

When the natural disaster has passed and communities start to rebuild, some of the projects will be public works projects, which means they are for public use or benefit and are paid for wholly or in part out of public funds. Employers must pay workers on these projects the prevailing wage rates. The Missouri Prevailing Wage Law applies to flood-related projects just as they would to any other public works construction project. It is the responsibility of the applicant to request an applicability determination from the Department if they feel that the law does not apply to their project. The request should be made to the Division of Labor Standards at [email protected]. You can also contact the Division at 573-751-3403 for more information. Any cleanup work that involves the removal of mud, water or debris as a result of the flooding would not be considered a public works projects. However, any preparation work performed incidental to public works construction would be subject to the prevailing wage law.

Injuries on the Job While Rebuilding

If you are cleaning up debris for construction preparation or demolishing damaged structures, it would be considered construction and workers should be covered by workers’ compensation (see Workers' Compensation Law). In Missouri, all employers in the construction field with one or more employees are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their workers. If you are injured on the job, follow the simple instructions on our website to ensure you receive care and benefits. The first step is to report your injury immediately to your supervisor. To find answers to the most frequently asked questions, visit our Division of Workers’ Compensation page.

 

Discrimination Protection

If you are forced to relocate or rebuild due to a natural disaster and experience discrimination in housing, employment, or public accommodations, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) can help. Benefits and services available through state and federal disaster recovery assistance programs must be distributed to eligible persons without consideration of factors such as race, national origin or disability status. Also, you cannot be denied disaster aid for reporting discrimination. If you are discriminated against based on your race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, age (in employment) or familial status (in housing), take the "Complaint Assessment" or call 573-751-3325 to begin the process of filing a complaint with MCHR. Don't let discrimination stop you from rebuilding your life.

Fair housing laws apply to nearly all forms of residences, for both sale or rent, including apartments, houses, mobile homes, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and even vacant lots to be used for housing.

More information about other resources and tools can be found on the Official Missouri State Website.