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Have you been impacted by recent storms?

Inclement weather has hit across the US this week with Bomb Cyclones impacting the West Coast, tornados and strong storms in the Midwest and Nor’easters pounding New England. When storms like these pass through areas, your business and your employees may be impacted by these significant storms.

When your business is impacted by a major storm, your first concern is making sure your employees are safe and that you get your business back up and running as soon as conditions allow. If your employees are unable to temporarily work due to storm damage or widespread power outages, they may qualify for unemployment benefits. At Thomas & Company, we want to make it easy for you to get your employees the help that they need.

If you are forced to temporarily shut down operations in a location impacted by a natural disaster, providing your T&C representative with a listing of the impacted employees can simplify the process for those that apply for benefits. This listing or spreadsheet should include the names of the impacted employees along with their SSN, worksite or location, first day worked, last day worked, and if known, the estimated return to work date.  Providing the reason for separation as “Natural Disaster” let’s your T&C Team know that this is a temporary layoff due to a natural disaster and we will automatically include the appropriate wording in our responses to the state. Having this information up front allows us to respond to the claims often without having to involve you, allowing you time to focus on getting your business up and running. If your system allows you to temporarily put the employee on furlough, you can use the same separation code “Natural Disaster” in your file feed or reach out to your T&C Client Relationship Manager to translate your disaster separation codes in your existing file feeds.

As we all saw with the pandemic, fraudulent claims for benefits exploded and the same thing could happen in areas hit hard by natural disasters. Fraudsters may take advantage of the situation and try to file for benefits hoping that they aren’t caught in the chaos caused by the disasters.  It is important to review any claims that you receive during a disaster to confirm that the individuals filing for benefits were impacted and report any cases of potentially fraudulent claims to T&C so we can notify the state and protect your account from fraudulent charges.

Thomas & Company is committed to partnering with our clients to provide information and assistance handling complex unemployment issues. We are monitoring this situation and if states or the federal government officially declare sites a disaster and offer additional benefits or relief to employees or employers, we will issue an update. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your Client Relationship Manager for more information.

Michele Heckmann

Author Michele Heckmann

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