Disaster Unemployment Assistance: How Workers Can Access the Program After Hurricane Harvey

Source: National Employment Law Project (NELP), Fact Sheet, August 30, 2017

What is Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)?
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), also referred to as Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance, is a federal program that provides temporary financial assistance to individuals unemployed as a result of a “major disaster” declared by the president. As of August 25, 2017, a major disaster was declared due to Hurricane Harvey in 18 counties in Texas, and on August 30th another 11 counties in Texas were added to the declaration, making DUA benefits available to workers in the 29 counties listed below. As of August 30th, a major disaster has not yet been declared in Louisiana. For a current list of the states and counties, see FEMA’s website (http://www.fema.gov/disasters)….

What are the Basic Eligibility Requirements for DUA?
There are two major requirements for an individual to qualify for DUA: 1) The individual must be out of work as a “direct result” of a major disaster; and 2) The individual does not qualify for regular unemployment insurance (UI) from any state. Once found to be eligible for DUA, workers must actively look for work and accept suitable work offered them, not unlike UI recipients. In addition, the individual must show that for every week he or she is collecting DUA, his or her unemployment continues to be the direct result of the disaster, not other factors….