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Disaster Relief Offered for Jobless in Norwalk

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Unable to get out of the house or get to work because of damage from Hurricane Irene? There may be help on the way.

If you lost work or are still unable to work as a result of the storm, new financial aid may be available to ease the disaster's economic impact.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Tuesday that because a major disaster was declared by President Obama for Connecticut from Tropical Storm Irene, Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available in all eight Connecticut counties – including Fairfield County.

The benefits are being made available for eligible residents who lost work as a direct result of damages caused by the storm. Individuals eligible for the benefits include those who are self-employed and work or live in the state who lost their jobs directly because of the disaster. Those eligible may also include the following:

• Individuals unable to reach their job because they must travel through the affected area and were prevented from doing so by the disaster.

• Those who were to start employment but were prevented by the storm.

• Individuals who became the major support for a household because of the death of the head of the household as a result of the storm.

• Anyone who cannot work because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster.

The program is a part of the federal disaster assistance process but is administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor. However, before a person is deemed eligible, the Department of Labor must establish that the individual is not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits under any state or federal law.

Officials indicated that residents who lost their jobs because of the storm should file a claim with their local TeleBenefits line, which can be found in the blue pages of telephone directories, on the Department of Labor's website at , or by dialing the state Infoline at 211.

The deadline for filing for the benefits is Oct. 6. Claims filed after the deadline may be ineligible for payment.

Obama last week signed the disaster declaration for Connecticut after touring the state with Malloy and FEMA officials.

Do you plan to file for unemployment benefits under Disaster Assistance made available by President Obama? Let us know in a comment below.

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