Disaster Unemployment Assistance

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Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster declared by the President of the United States.

Before an individual can be determined eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, it must be established that the individual is not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits (under any state or federal law). The program is administered by states as agents of the federal government.

Eligibility

In order to qualify for this benefit your employment or self-employment must have been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster and you must have been determined not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance.

Payment will be made to unemployed U.S. nationals and qualified aliens, who as a direct result of a major disaster:

  • No longer has a job.
  • Is unable to reach the place of work.
  • Was to commence work and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job
  • Has become the breadwinner for the household because the head of household has died or become incapacitated (If you became a breadwinner due to the death of a self-employed individual, you are considered an unemployed worker for DUA purposes).
  • Cannot work because of a disaster-incurred injury.

With exceptions for persons with an injury and for self-employed individuals performing activities to return to self-employment, individuals must be able to work and available for work, which are the same requirements to be eligible for state unemployment insurance benefits.

Benefits

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to individuals for weeks of unemployment beginning with the first week following the date the major disaster began and for up to 26 weeks after the major disaster was declared by the President, as long as their unemployment continues to be a result of the major disaster.

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The maximum weekly benefit amount is determined under the provisions of the state law for unemployment insurance in the state where the disaster occurred.

Filing a Claim

Claims should be filed in accordance with the state's instructions published in announcements about the availability of Disaster Unemployment Assistance, or contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency.

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Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Neighborhood Link
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