Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a federally-funded program which provides financial and reemployment assistance to certain individuals whose employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster. Based on a request from the governor, the president of the United States declares that a major disaster has occurred in a defined area and that certain relief assistance is available. If the declaration includes DUA, the department announces the 30-day period for filing applications for federal DUA benefits. This program is for individuals that are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
When a major disaster has been declared by the president, DUA is generally available to any unemployed worker or self-employed individual who worked, or was scheduled to work in the disaster area at the time of the disaster; and due to the disaster:
- No longer has a job or a place to work
- Cannot reach his/her place of work
- Cannot work due to damage to the place of work
- Cannot work because of an injury caused by the disaster
An individual who becomes the head of household and is seeking work because the former head of household died as a result of the disaster may also qualify for DUA benefits.
DUA benefits are payable to individuals only for weeks of unemployment in the Disaster Assistance Period, which begins with the first day of the week following the date the major disaster began and for up to 26 weeks after the date the disaster was declared by the president, as long as the individual's unemployment continues to be a result of the major disaster.
The maximum weekly benefit amount is determined under the provisions of the state law for unemployment compensation in the state where the disaster occurred. However, the minimum weekly amount is half (50%) of the average benefit amount in the state.
More information is available in the pamphlet: DUA-5, Disaster Unemployment Assistance.