How Do You Apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance?

Your state may be eligible for disaster unemployment assistance if it has declared a major disaster.

A major disaster may result in individuals losing their employment or interrupting their self-employment, resulting in receiving Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

In addition, DUA recipients are ineligible to receive regular unemployment insurance benefits.

Natural disasters that result in a presidential disaster declaration are considered major disasters because the damage is too severe for state and local governments to respond.

Following a series of tornadoes that tore through Kentucky on Saturday, Dec. 11, President Joe Biden declared it a major disaster. Following a visit to the area, he increased federal assistance to 100% for “debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal Assistance.”

“The fact is, I’m going to make sure the federal government steps up and make sure we do every single thing. We’re going to get you every single thing you need,” Biden asserted.

Both Illinois and Tennessee, where tornadoes destroyed parts of the northwestern part of the state, were declared natural disaster areas by the president. In addition, he stands prepared to declare other midwestern states that were hit by the ravaging storms disaster areas.

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It is possible to qualify for assistance if you live, work, or are scheduled to work in an area declared a disaster. But, you must meet these conditions:

  • you no longer have a job or place of employment
  • The workplace cannot be reached
  • You cannot work as the workplace has been damaged
  • The disaster caused the former head of the household to die. As a result, you are the new head of the household and are looking for a job
  • You cannot work due to an injury sustained during the disaster

DUA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security. When a major disaster is declared, state unemployment insurance agencies are tasked with administering the DUA on behalf of the federal government.

Check the official website of your state for information about applying for DUA benefits. A DUA application must be filed within 30 days following the announcement that DUA is available in your state.

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