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Help for Those Who Lost Jobs Due to Hurricanes

You may qualify for disaster unemployment assistance

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Those who qualify can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks.

If hurricanes Harvey or Irma cost you your job, you may be able to get disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) to help you get back on your feet.

The DUA program offers unemployment benefits and job-search services to those who are out of work because of a presidentially declared major disaster and also are not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance. Those who qualify can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks, starting the week after the disaster struck, as long as unemployment continues as a direct result of the disaster.

To qualify for the DUA program, you must meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • You are unemployed for at least one week following the disaster.
  • You are unable to reach your place of work.
  • The job you had no longer exists.
  • An injury caused by the disaster prevents you from working.
  • You have become the household’s major supporter because the head of the household died in the disaster.
  • You have lost a majority of income because the business was damaged, destroyed or closed by the federal government.

In addition to meeting at least one of the previous criteria, recipients of DUA must also:

  • Be able and available for work, unless injured as a direct result of the disaster.
  • File an application within 30 days of the announcement that the program is available.
  • Not refuse an offer of employment for a suitable position.

To receive the assistance, you need to provide proof of employment, self-employment or work that was to begin on or after the disaster occurred. You have 21 calendar days after the claim is filed to show that proof.

You can find further information on filing a DUA claim by contacting your state unemployment insurance agency.

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