One of the most devastating effects of a disaster like Hurricane Harvey is the spike in joblessness that it can create. Once the numbers are in, Harvey is expected to be among the worst disasters when it comes to creating unemployment. It’s shuttering businesses for months (some for good) and causing indefinite slowdowns in industries like construction and car sales.
If you were already on the hunt for a job, this could be especially devastating news. But there are ways you can make a living until your full job search resumes.
- Work with a temporary staffing firm. While many permanent positions can be put on hold during disaster recovering, there’s plenty of work to be done and, most often, that work is done by temporary help. Disaster cleanup is an obvious area that needs extra help, but there are more white-collar/professional jobs that need temporary workers, too. Insurance adjusters need to ramp up in affected areas, and positions left temporarily vacant by individuals dealing with their own disaster-related emergencies and displacements need to be filled. Staffing firms that have locations in the heart of the affected areas, like The HT Group, are the best place to start when it comes to finding temporary work.
- Seek assistance from the Texas Workforce Commission. If you lost your job due to a disaster and cannot work, there may be special assistance for you. For Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Workforce Commission has started accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) for workers who lost their jobs and self-employed individuals who have been unable to work due to hurricane-related damage. They are also waiving the work search requirement for disaster-related regular unemployment claims so, if you’re affected, you currently do not need to prove you’re searching for a job to receive benefits. If you feel you may be eligible for TWC assistance, visit their Unemployment Benefit Services page or call a TWC Tele-Center Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 800-939-6631.
- Avoid job scams…they’re out there. Disasters bring out the best and the worst in people. Part of the worst is job scammers. TWC warns job seekers in disaster areas to verify job listings on sites like Craigslist before responding, especially if there is no company name listed. In many cases, the work may be real, but the wages are not (you may never get paid). Work with a reputable staffing firm for an extra layer of protection from job scams.
If your job hunt is affected by a disaster—or a disaster has caused you to lose your job—stay strong. Better times are ahead. Help where it’s needed and seek help by either finding employment through a staffing firm or applying for unemployment benefits through your state’s workforce commission. If we can help, let us know. We’re in this together.
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