Workers in Four More Calif. Counties Eligible for Freeze Assistance

May 10, 2007

Workers in California’s Kings, Madera, Merced, and Stanislaus counties who lost their jobs due to the January’s freeze are eligible for disaster unemployment assistance under a federal program.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency made the money available to workers in the four counties, adding them to 12 counties approved for federal unemployment assistance in March.

Workers can receive up to $450 a week for up to 26 weeks.

Thousands of farmworkers and packing house employees lost their jobs when freezing temperatures destroyed more than $1.2 billion in citrus and other crops in California in January, according to state agricultural officials.

The state and several non-profits stepped in to offer food assistance and have lobbied the federal government for help beyond food and unemployment insurance.

Workers in the four new counties have until May 25 to file claims with the California Employment Development Department. They must show that they have permission to work in California.

The state has received nearly 2,300 unemployment claims due to the freeze, according to FEMA.

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