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Help Self-Employed Workers After Disaster Strikes
Recent disasters, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the wildfires in California, have underscored the need to support and strengthen our national recovery framework.

In 2002, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) wrote regulations that excluded self-employed workers from eligibility of FEMA's tool assistance program. This regulatory action has denied access to critical assistance that would help workers get back to work faster after a disaster and in emergency recovery.

Americans for the Arts has been working with CERF+, the nation's leading nonprofit organization focused on safeguarding artists' livelihoods, in pursuing a change to allow self-employed workers to be eligible for tool replacement assistance.

After a disaster, we know that it is imperative that workers quickly secure the tools they need to earn a living so they can salvage their businesses. Data shows that this assistance would also be a cost-saving measure for the government by enabling self-employed workers to get back to work more quickly and stay off public assistance during disaster recovery.

Did you know that artists are twice as likely to be self-employed as other Americans? Take two minutes to urge support for this common-sense solution, and read more about disaster preparedness on our resource page here.

The solution is ready to go! In 2017, during Arts Advocacy Day, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced the CREATE Act (S.661/H.R.1649) and included this tool replacement provision in section 108 of the bill. Given the urgency of the situation, the tool replacement provision can be easily extracted from the CREATE Act and added to another bill that is likely to be acted upon soon.
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