Disaster Unemployment Assistance Update
In response to the Hurricane Sandy aftermath, President Obama has declared federal
disaster areas for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
What You Should Know
Employees that have had their work hours reduced or are out of work due to the storm
(i.e. the business is closed because of storm damage or no longer exists) can apply
for unemployment and will likely qualify under the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance
(“DUA”). DUA is available in federally declared disaster areas, after the US Dept.
of Labor (“USDOL”) certifies the area as DUA eligible.
The following criteria are used to determine eligibility for benefits under the federal
- Persons who are unemployed due to the disaster, and do not qualify for regular unemployment
- Persons who are prevented from working due to an injury caused by the disaster.
- Persons who are unable to reach their job or self-employment location because they
must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster.
- Persons who were to commence employment or self-employment but were prevented by the
- Persons who have become the major supplier of household income due to the disaster-related
death or injury of the previous major supplier of household income.
- Self-employed individuals and small business owners who lost income due to the disaster
What You Need to Know about the DUA Program and the UI Program
Persons are eligible for DUA only if they do not first qualify for benefits under
the regular state Unemployment Insurance (UI) program or exhaust regular benefits.
If a person is unemployed due to a disaster and qualifies under the state UI program,
benefits will be paid under the regular program first. State UI laws vary regarding
non-charging for merit-rated employers when benefits are paid under the regular program
for disaster separations.
DUA is funded entirely by the federal government. Unlike regular state UI benefits,
DUA funds are federally appropriated. DUA benefits are allocated from the President’s
Disaster Relief Fund, so no employer is liable for benefits paid under the DUA program.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) transfers funds to the DOL (Department
of Labor) to use in states with designated major disaster areas that have Presidential
- For New Jersey, federal DUA assistance is available for individuals in Atlantic,
Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union counties.
What You Can Expect
UI agency offices in the states covered by the federal disaster declarations, both
claims and hearing offices, may be closed or operating on reduced schedules. This
information is being updated daily by our Government Relations Team.
This weblog is sponsored by TALX.
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