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Federal disaster unemployment assistance to workers and the self-employed affected by Hurricane Irma is available to South Florida residents.  Those approved for disaster unemployment receive up to $275 a week, according to Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).

The deadline is Oct. 16 to file an application for disaster unemployment assistance for those whose work was lost or interrupted by the storm, according to DEO. To qualify, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • That they have worked in the past or were self-employed, or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment;
  • Are not able to work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to their place of employment as result of the disaster;
  • Can establish that the work or self-employment was their principal source of income;
  • Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury or direct result of the disaster;
  • Became the breadwinner or major supporter of a household because of the death of the head of household.

DEO said disaster unemployment benefits require proof of employment and wages verified, and confirmation that the unemployment was a direct result of the disaster. Each claim will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and applicants cannot also qualify for regular unemployment benefits from any state.

To file a claim, go to , or call 800-385-3920 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.   For claims information, call 800-204-2418 and choose option 2.

Separately, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is hiring staff to help with disaster recovery. The agency said it is seeking damage verifiers and construction analysts; lawyers, paralegals and legal assistants; loan specialists; customer service representatives and public information officers; and IT specialists. All of the positions are temporary.  Visit  and click on the “view jobs” tab for salary and job description information.