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Information for those Affected by Natural Disasters

Information for those Affected by Natural Disasters

When natural disasters like floods, droughts, 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.

To find additional resources across the state, visit the Missouri Recovery Portal.

How the Department can help:

Unemployment Assistance
Cleanup Safety Precautions
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 begin the process. These claims can be filed using UInteract or by calling a Regional Claims Center. For more information, read the informational pamphlet Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

The Division of Employment Security is also providing extended due dates for Missouri businesses whose quarterly unemployment tax and wage report filings and payments were delayed by recent flooding. Most businesses had a deadline of May 1 to submit the quarterly reports and payment to the Division. Reports and payments from businesses that identify the recent flooding as the cause for the late filings are being considered timely filed and paid. In addition, the Division will work with employers and individuals to provide more flexibility in due dates to receive correspondences which would establish, protest, or appeal unemployment insurance claims.

 Cleanup Safety Precautions

If you are part of cleanup efforts in disaster areas, make sure you are taking the proper safety precautions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has provided the following fact sheets that will help you stay safe during the cleanup and restoration process.

OSHA Fact Sheet: Flood Cleanup
OSHA Fact Sheet: Cleanup Hazard
OSHA Fact Sheet: Demolition Safety
OSHA Fact Sheet: Electrical Safety
OSHA Fact Sheet: Mold Hazards
OSHA Fact Sheet: Fungi Hazards
OSHA Fact Sheet: Chain Saw Safety
OSHA Fact Sheet: Animal Rescue

Traveler Information Map

Check Road Conditions with MoDOT's Traveler Map

 Injuries on the Job While Rebuilding

If you are cleaning up debris for construction preparation or demolishing damaged structures, it could be considered as construction industry work. Construction crews should be covered by workers' compensation insurance coverage. In Missouri, all employers in the construction industry with one or more employees are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees (see Workers' Compensation Law). If you are injured on the job, visit our website to ensure you receive information about medical care and workers' compensation benefits. Be sure to take the first step and 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. 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.