WHAT IS DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (DUA)?

By June 10, 2015September 23rd, 2015Blog

With the heavy flooding in Texas and Oklahoma being in the news recently, many are being exposed for the first time to a less well-known type of unemployment insurance – Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a partnering program between the USDOL and FEMA to provide funds to state UI agencies for the payment of UI benefits under certain circumstances. It provides disaster unemployment assistance to individuals who have lost employment as the result of a major disaster and are NOT otherwise eligible for regular UI benefits.

To initialize the DUA program, the President must first make a formal declaration following a major disaster.

Individuals are eligible if they lived, worked, or were scheduled to work in the affected areas and:

  • No longer have a job or place to work; or
  • Cannot reach the place of work; or
  • Cannot work as the result of damage to the place of work; or
  • Cannot work due to injury sustained in the disaster.
  • Became the breadwinner or major supporter of a household due to the death of head of household resulting from the disaster.

DUA benefits are only payable during the Disaster Assistance Period (DAP) not to exceed 26 weeks. The weekly benefit amount for which the person may be eligible is determined by the governing laws in the state in which the claim was filed. Any benefits claimed under the DUA program are 100 percent federally funded, which means employers’ UI accounts will not be charged.

More information on the DUA program can be found at https://workforcesecuri-ty.doleta.gov/unemploy/disaster.asp

Currently three states have active DUA programs.

Oklahoma

As the result of severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes during the period of May 5-10, 2015, a Presidential disaster declaration was declared for the counties of Cleveland, Grady, and Oklahoma (county).

The deadline for filing a DUA claim is July 1, 2015.

Persons are eligible for DUA only if they exhaust regular unemployment benefits or if they do not qualify for benefits under the regular UI program. If a person is unemployed due to a disaster and qualifies under the regular program, benefits will be paid under the regular program first. State UI laws vary regarding non-charging for benefits paid under the regular program when the separation is due to a disaster; however, the OK Employment Security Commission provides relief of charges to employers for disaster-related regular UI claims.

Further information can be found at:https://www.ok.gov/oesc_web/documents/lminr06012015.pdf

Texas

Presidential disaster areas were declared in Harris, Hays, and Van Zandt counties in Texas resulting from severe storms and flooding that began on May 4, 2015 and continued for an extended period of time.

The deadline for filing a DUA claim is July 1, 2015.

Persons are eligible for DUA only if they exhaust regular unemployment benefits or if they do not qualify for benefits under the regular UI program. If a person is unemployed due to a disaster and qualifies under the regular pro-gram, benefits will be paid under the regular program first.

Texas Workforce Com-mission provides for relief of charges to an employer for any regular UI disaster-related claims.

Should you require any additional information, please visit:

https://www.twc.state.tx.us/files/news/press-release-060115-disaster-unemployment-assistance-available-for-workers-in-harris-hays-vanzandt-counties.pdf

West Virginia

Three Presidential disaster declarations were recently issued for counties in West Virginia due to flooding, severe storms, and landslides occurring from early to mid-April 2015.

Federal funding was made available to affected residents to aid in general recovery; however, this did not include a provision for DUA. Regular UI claim filing and employer chargeability procedures will be utilized by Workforce West Virginia. West Virginia law does not provide for non-charging of an employer’s account for any claims created as the result of a disaster.

Source: Equifax Workforce Solutions

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