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How to Claim Hurricane Disaster Unemployment Assistance?

Updated : August 4th, 2020

If you are a victim of the storm, then you should avail for Disaster Unemployment Assistance to help you through this troubled time. Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) aims at assisting individuals with unemployment benefits that have lost their jobs or are no longer working due to a major disaster in an area where a disaster assistance period is declared. This is available to those that have applied but are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

How to claim Hurricane disaster Unemployment assistance
You are eligible for DUA if any one of the following has occurred to you because of the disaster:

  • The previous job contributed to more than 50% of your total income.
  • Stay, work and travel in the disaster area.
  • Your office, place of employment is damaged or closed.
  • Scheduled to start work which does not exist or no longer reach due to the storm.
  • Self-employment or work cannot be a sustainable source of income
  • Fall short of qualifying for unemployment benefits from any state
  • Cannot work due to injury caused by the disaster
  • You are the breadwinner of the household because of the death of the head of the household.

Additional eligibility requirements for DUA include:

  • Be unemployed as a direct result of the disaster
  • Be legally authorized to work in the United States
  • Be able to work and available for work
  • Actively search for work, unless ill or injured due to the disaster
  • Submit DUA payment requests on time
  • Have not refused an offer or referral to suitable work

DUA is available for people during the Disaster Assistance period which starts on the first Sunday from when the major disaster has been declared. Usually, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the DUA regulations define when the period starts and finishes. Seasonal workers are eligible for DUA if they would have been employed when the disaster had occurred.

How Do You Apply for DUA?

There are two options that eligible candidates can use to get the benefits of DUA. They can apply online at the Unemployment Benefit Services by clicking on the ‘Apply for Benefits’ option. They can also call the Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 to speak to a customer service representative. Those from Louisiana can call 225-925-7500. Those that are eligible will receive information on their weekly benefit amount, how to ask for payments and receive a copy of the Unemployment Benefits Handbook. In order to ensure that you can claim your benefits, you should complete your work search registration within 3 days of your application for the DUA. This is unless you have an intention to restart your business and if you are otherwise self-employed and looking to reopen your business. The proof of your employment which was disrupted by the disaster must be submitted within 21 days of the application. Work searches may be exempt in the disaster-hit regions in case it takes more than 12 weeks to restart the operations. Finally, you should request payment of DUA with the Payment Request sent to you and ensure that your mailing address is correct to receive your benefits.

DUA Weekly Benefit Amount

The minimum DUA weekly benefit amount is at least 50% of the state average WBA (Weekly Benefit Amount). For example, if you receive a WBA of $315, you should then be eligible for a DUA of $157. Minimum weekly benefits are used if you do not have any base period wages or enough wages to receive a minimum required benefit amount.

DUA payments may reduce if you receive any of the following:

  • Benefit amount reductions would be based on working part-time and your WBA will be reduced in proportion to the number of hours worked.
  • Benefits or insurance received for loss of wages due to illness or disability
  • Supplemental unemployment benefits that are paid pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement
  • If you receive private income protection insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation or Survivors Benefits if you become the major support of the family as a result of the death of the head of the household because of the disaster
  • If you receive retirement pension or annuity
  • On earnings from employment or self-employment
  • Receive subsidy or price support payments, crop insurance payments and farm disaster relief (Non-DUA) payments
  • Avail a court order to pay child support

 

All 39 Texas counties that are within the presidential disaster declaration have to apply until October 31. If you file after the deadline then it may be denied unless there is a good cause. All applicants should submit their Social Security Number, check stubs and documentation to support the claim that they are working or self-employed.

How Much DUA Benefits Payments?

How to claim Hurricane disaster Unemployment assistance money

If you reside in these states then you can avail DUA Benefits for 26 weeks. Individual benefits cannot extend beyond the disaster period which is 6 months. If you are in these states then you can receive the following:

 

States DUA Benefits
Texas $203 Minimum Weekly DUA Benefit/$493 Maximum Benefit
Florida $120 Minimum Weekly DUA Benefit/$275 Maximum Benefit
Georgia $142 Minimum Weekly DUA Benefit/$330 Maximum Benefit
Puerto Rico $59 Minimum Weekly DUA Benefit/$133 Maximum Benefit
U.S. Virgin Islands $167 Minimum Weekly DUA Benefit/$480 Maximum Benefit

Deadlines for DUA Application

To enroll in DUA, victims of the disaster should apply within 30 days after the availability is announced. Other applications would only be accepted for a “good cause” and in no case can the DUA application be received after the disaster period ends. You are required to provide supporting documents of your employment and earnings with your Social Security Number. If you are self-employed, you should provide your tax return copies. If you are employed, documents that provide proof of employment should be furnished. You should also provide a sworn statement which includes verification forms. By failing to do so, it would result in benefit overpayment which would be collected by the state. Each state will process the DUA differently. Most states may do so via internet and telephone. But if you are affected by Hurricane Irma, you should check periodically on the state websites. Open these websites if you have applied at Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands unemployment insurance agency websites listed below.

Additional Eligibility Conditions

Do state unemployment benefits apply to agricultural workers?

Farmworkers are eligible for benefits from the state. In Florida, those agricultural employers with more than 5 employees over a 20 week period or paid $10,000 in wages in a calendar quarter must cover these workers. In Texas, workers are covered if they employ at least 3 employees for 20 weeks or paid at least $6250 in wages during the calendar quarter. If a farmer fails to qualify then they should submit their application for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

Do immigrant workers get state unemployment benefits and DUA?

Workers that provide work authorization when they are working or when they collect benefits can qualify for unemployment benefits and DUA. Those that are not US citizens should provide the necessary documentation that supports their immigration status and the State UI agency should verify the same. Their status is usually verified through a process called Systematic Alien Verification For Entitlement Program by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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  1. So I have been getting ue for 6 months and on Oct 21 I had a fact finding issue found and cleared after taking a month, I got put on hold I got nothing no benefits nothing because I am on hold until cleared up and it was another month later in my favor, I’ve been without payment since Oct 21 since then I have been on HOLD, I am beyond pissed, I call every Fri I see the letter I received saying its in my favor that says I am Monetary Eligible-yet I still have 6 payments on hold. I call DEO and I talk, I beg and I get told “we are working on it”, the letter is in my favor I am poor not rich I am poor Why how do you people get away with this

  2. Hello

    I’m 59 years old and was laid off in March 2020 due to Covid.
    In June 2020 I was advised my job was eliminated and there is no chance of me
    Being brought back. I’m collecting UI since March.

    Pondering the thought of taking my early retirement pension as I can’t survive on
    UI any longer. My pension is of course reduced due to my age. Full pension is age 62.

    If I apply for early reduced pension in this situation, does my UI benefit get decreased? I’m in New York.
    I’m still looking for full time work. No luck.

    Thank you so much
    Lorraine

  3. i was just layed off from my job, i did collect benefits in pa. my job is seasonal igot unemployment payments in jan. to april i had 26 weeks of unemployment , but only used about 13 weeks, and was called back to work. i received 2 weeks of 600 dollars of stimlus money. my question is now that i reopened my 2020 claim . i,m i still elegibe for any more stimlus payments along with my regular unemployment payments.

  4. I am 65 yrs old in California and being layed off in Dec 2020. If I apply for unemployment benefits and collect a company pension, will the pension reduce the unemployment benefits ? If you answer call unemployment what is the department or do you have a phone number for a help line. I have called and get automated questions that do not apply to my situation.
    Cannot get to a live person.

  5. Several years ago I was part of a reduction in force and was early-retired for pension purposes. I count on this small pension ($2K/mo) to supplement my employment which has been inconsistent this past two years. I am filing for UI in IL and I qualify for it, but they are saying my pension reduces my UI benefit to zero. Is that right?

    1. Mike,

      That is partially right. The pension will have an impact on UI benefits. Please check for relevant info on the Unemployment Office’s website.

  6. I have $219.00 left on my UE and still no work due to covid-19 will i be able to get a extension on my UE and will it cover the last two weeks. I request payment tomorrow.

      1. My benefits have expired, still.unemployed due to over 65, wdiebrtes, high blood pressure and have one kidney, Can I get PUA , Cares Act for any assistance

  7. im working at a place i have been layed off from a lot in my career.i got 30 yrs in there so i can retire now but need another job to make it hoping to stay working and get more hours.If i take a new job and get layed off there I will BE DRAWING 1400 A MONTH FROM THE JOB I WORKED 30 YRS would i be able to draw unemployment if the new job lays me off and would it be reduced because of my retirement money of 1400 month.

  8. My bf was laid off in April he got the the 600 to start with now he is only getting the unemployment and no extra when we hear ppl getting 3 checks totaling 40k that might be lies but still that is bullshit.

  9. I Sharon Bland or Sharon Scott or Sharon Ann Mccraw
    Use my phone to claim two of my boyfriends and my own benefits. Is that ok ?

  10. I’m getting pua on employment and it was supposed to be backdated to May 27th when I wasn’t ableable to start my new job and somehow it’s August 24th they said it would be backdated been sending messages and pua people keep saying they have emailed you guys too but nobody gets back to me who do I need to contact about this thank you

  11. I check my checking account balance every week but I cannot tell if I am getting my 300.00 extra unemployment. Also. How can I tell if I got my back time unemployment .

    1. Thelma,

      I did not understand what you meant. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for precise answers to all your questions.

  12. I have exhausted my UI and all extensions. Not eligible for Fed Ed. Does EDD open a PUA claim for me. Or do I have to aoole for it. Its been past 30 days since receiving my Fed Ed denial letter.

  13. i have been unemployed for the whole year almost and since i have been trying to distance myself to better my all around health, it took me this long to file for benefits, i was hoping to get back pay all the way to the beginning.

    1. Zach,

      To qualify, the claimant is required to have sufficient earnings/employment during the “Base Period”. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  14. Thank you o much for investigating this. When I received an overpayment statement and my benefits where stopped I felt my heart drop to my stomach. Already being evicted by a slumlord and now no income, i had to start working when i feel very at risk for getting the virus because of pre-existing conditions and the reason for filing in the first place. i am a cosmetologist and considered non-essential. I feel utterley hopeless and helpless in this situation.

  15. I cannot contact anyone in the unemployment offices because the phone hangs up on me in all cases after listening over and over the recorded message. I have called three numbers .

    I have received pandemic unemployment since March 31st. There was a pending adjudication but I never received any questions, letters nor emails about it and I was approved and paid. Now…this is what the website says:
    7 of 7 entries
    Issue Identification Number Employer Name Issue Type Status Date Mailed Level
    0002 7693 59-01
    PUA Pending 11/16/2020 Adjudication
    0002 4773 71-01
    Program Integrity Mailed 11/6/2020 Adjudicati
    Claimant Inbox
    Select the Search button to display your action items. To narrow your search, input issue date range below and select the Search button.
    Issue Date: From: To: 11/6/2020 to 11/16/2020
    Inbox
    • Below are the items that require your attention and that you need to take action on for your claim.
    • Select the Document ID
    I need this money to survive as others do while I am trying to re-establish any contract freelance work I am capable of doing….I report my small jobs as I get them but they do not come close to equaling my unemployment as of yet. Please tell me where I can go to find out what is needed here.

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