Natural Disasters Can Yield Untold Financial Devastation Skip to main content

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Natural Disasters Can Yield Untold Financial Devastation


From Joplin, Missouri, to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Raleigh, North Carolina, and everywhere in between, we’ve all seen our fair share of devastating storms, winds, flooding and tornados this season--whether they be on television or impacting in our own backyards.  But amid the reports of destroyed homes and rising death tolls comes another, less well-known casualty of these now-ubiquitous natural disasters: massive job losses. And, in the aftermath, these employment-killing storms leave whole communities shattered and unable to rebuild back to their former financial underpinnings.

As contributor Eve Tahmincioglu reported this week, “The plant where Joe Wermuth worked in Joplin, Mo., took a direct hit and was wiped out by the massive tornado that hit the town May 22. But he considers himself lucky. ‘I’m very blessed not to have lost my home (or) anyone in my family,’ he said.  Also, he still has a job. The welding supply company that employs him transferred him to a location in another town not far from his home in Neosho, Mo.  Sadly not all workers have been so lucky. Their homes or places of business have been destroyed in this year's wave of storms, tornadoes and flooding. That means thousands of workers in the South and Midwest could be out of work for some time, potentially pushing up the nation's jobless rate and further taxing financially strapped state unemployment funds.”

While insurance or Federal Disaster Relief can help rebuild a home, there are fewer options when a person’s livelihood is decimated by a sudden Act of God. In these hard-hit areas, unemployment benefits claims are on the rise even as federal aid has failed to stem the tide of traditional unemployment. “The impact of the storms could begin to show up in monthly unemployment figures for May, due out in June,” reported Tahmincioglu. “Figures from April, showing that unemployment edged up to 9 percent, did not reflect the worst of the storms and flooding because they were based on surveys conducted in mid-April. Similarly the impact of late May tornadoes and flooding would not show up until monthly figures due out July 8. ‘It is possible we would see an increase in the unemployment rate, but we can’t speculate,’ said Stacey Standish, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Affected towns are bracing for potential widespread unemployment.”

When there’s nowhere else to turn, a personal bankruptcy has sometimes become the next best option for those facing financial devastation related to a natural disaster.

When the winds of job insecurity come calling, whether they’re caused by a natural disaster or a severe economic downturn, a personal bankruptcy can provide the very safe havens you need to carry you through your unemployment trauma. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can virtually erase unsecured debt like credit cards or medical costs, leaving you free and clear to deal with other hardships at hand. In the alternative, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan can buy you time to pay down your debts and as you work hard to piece together the assets that survived the storm. These options can offer a reprieve from the devastation a sudden job loss can wreak on any family’s finances.

The bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and in any financial storm they’re there when you need them. Just call toll free to +1-919-646-2654, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.

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