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Important deadline looms for Yellowstone County flood victims

Posted at 7:16 AM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 09:58:27-04

BILLINGS – For Yellowstone County residents impacted by this spring’s devastating flooding, an important deadline for assistance looms.

“That was a terrible situation this spring, it's hard to believe it was already this spring,” said Paul Martin with the Montana Department of Industry and Labor.

He warns that workers impacted should mark their calendars for Friday, Aug 26 to apply for assistance.

“I would hope that people aren’t still waiting around because the door is closing here this week,” he said.

He said most individuals who lost work due to the flooding if they are regular W-2 employees, may be eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance benefits.

Here’s a look at who qualifies, according to the Department of Labor. Benefits are available to individuals who do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits but who, following the June flooding:

  • Live or work in Yellowstone County
  • Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment,
  • Could/Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster,
  • Were/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
  • Establish that the work or self-employment they could/can no longer perform was their primary source of income
  • Could not/Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster, or
  • Who became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of the household due to the disaster.

Montanans who meet the above criteria are encouraged to file a claim via phone at (406) 444-3454.

“So if someone needs to file a claim or is unsure whether they’re eligible or not, I would just encourage them to file a claim,” Martin said.

He says benefits are being handed out, too.

“We’ve had 68 claims stand up so far, and that would be the initial counties; Park, Stillwater, and Carbon,” he said. “That period of disaster assistance has come to a close in those three counties unless you can show good cause as to why you’re late.”

When water levels rose quickly catching residents off guard most had their hands full with so many things.

“I don’t think it's their first immediate concern,” he said.

But Martin says this step is crucial, too.

“I hope we helped all that we were able to,” he said.