Food replacement, unemployment help to eligible residents

Published 5:36 pm Friday, October 14, 2016

Some area residents affected by Hurricane Matthew and subsequent flooding could be eligible for replacement of “food stamps” and disaster unemployment assistance.

Food and Nutrition Services recipients must request replacement of their benefits by Tuesday if they experienced food losses attributable to the storm. The head of the household must contact their county’s Department of Social Services to report the loss and qualify for replacement benefits.

“The state is requesting a waiver for an additional 10 days, but we don’t know if or when that would happen. We’re not sure when we would receive notification of that, or if it would happen,” said Amy Alligood, income maintenance supervisor with the Beaufort County Department of Social Services. “In order for someone to be guaranteed a replacement, for those who are already receiving benefits, they would need to come by Tuesday, which is the 18th . … We’d hate for somebody to hold out on that hope that it could be granted and then they not be guaranteed a replacement. If they’re already receiving benefits, they need to come in by the 18th to guarantee a replacement.”

Area residents not participating in the Food and Nutrition Services program may be eligible for food assistance as state agencies work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop data for use in identifying counties that qualify for such assistance. While that effort continues, residents may visit their respective DAA offices to apply for regular Food and Nutrition Services benefits, according to a news release from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Workers who lost their jobs or whose jobs were interrupted as a result of the storm and subsequent flooding could be eligible for certain benefits under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program.

To assist hurricane and/or flooding victims, the state will not enforce the one-week waiting period and job-search requirements for people whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of the disaster in the counties covered under President Obama’s disaster declaration. Those counties include, but are not limited to, Beaufort County, Hyde County and Pitt County. More counties may be added to the list later.

People affected by the disaster and unable to continue working must submit an application for benefits by Nov. 14.

“Workers who became unemployed as a direct result of the effects of Hurricane Matthew impacting North Carolina may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under the DUA program. Business owners affected by the storm may also qualify for benefits,” according to N.C. Division of Employment Security news release.

Workers or business owners meeting the following criteria may be eligible for benefits:

• individuals who are unemployed due to the disaster, and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits. If you are eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits, you must first exhaust those benefits before you are eligible for DUA;

• self-employed individuals and small business owners who lost income due to the disaster;

• individuals who were prevented from working due to an injury caused by the disaster;

• individuals who have become the major supplier of household income due to the disaster-related death or injury of the previous major supplier of household income;

• individuals who are unable to reach their job or self-employment location because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster;

• individuals who were to commence employment or self-employment but were prevented from doing so by the disaster.


DUA is available for weeks of employment beginning with the week starting Oct. 9.

Benefits last for up to 26 weeks as long as the claimant’s unemployment continues as a result of the hurricane.

For more information about Food and Nutrition Services benefits, call 211 or go to the United Way North Carolina website at

The 211 the service is free, confidential and available in any language.

To apply for DUA benefits, individuals may contact DES by calling 1-866- 795-8877 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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