Disaster Unemployment available for employees out of work during Creek Fire


SHAVER LAKE, California (KSEE) – Anyone not able to work due to the Creek Fire is able to sign up for unemployment assistance. California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) says it offers disaster relief – once a state of emergency is declared.

It is designed to help anyone whose livelihoods have been impacted by the wildfire and subsequent evacuations.

Shaver Lake Pub ‘N’ Grub was closed for several weeks due to the wildfire. Employees worked all morning on Wednesday to get the restaurant ready to open on Saturday.

Owner John Wright said cleaning out the spoiled goods was nauseating – even with an N95 mask.

“Eyes were burning by the time we got home,” said Wright. “My wife and I were the only ones that were up here and we could not wait until we got home to change. We changed on the patio. We immediately threw our clothes in the washers and we had a terrible sinus headache from it.”

The Wrights lost $10,000 in spoiled goods.

Employee Allie Maxfield started just two weeks before the blaze. She not only did not have a job most of September but also had to evacuate her home. Without a paycheck, the expenses piled up.

“Groceries, gas if you have to drive,” said Maxfield. “Bills you have to pay no matter what. Car payments, insurance, cell phone.”

The EDD has a disaster unemployment program. It pays up to $450 per week for a maximum of 26 weeks. Assemblymember Jim Patterson said his office plans to push for disaster claims to be processed immediately.

“I would pity the EDD operation if they said ‘no wait or maybe’ to people affected by the fire”, said Patterson. “They have a legitimate reason to quickly receive their unemployment.”

People will have to wait until Monday to fill out the application on the EDD’s website because the state ordered the EDD to close for two weeks on Sep. 21, to deal with the backlog of claims from the pandemic.

Those who already receive unemployment benefits from before or during the pandemic are not eligible for this fund.

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