Tropical Storm Debby Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has been made available to three additional Florida counties included in the latest federal declaration for Individual Assistance – Duval, Nassau and Union. This federal funding is provided in coordination with the U.S. Department of Labor to aid Floridians out of work due to Tropical Storm Debby in these affected counties. More counties may become eligible in accordance with future federal declarations due to Debby.
DUA helps people who have become unemployed as a direct result of a declared disaster and who do not qualify for regular Reemployment Assistance benefits (formerly unemployment compensation benefits). The DUA program covers individuals who are self-employed and owners and workers of farms and ranches, as well as fishers and others who are not normally covered by state reemployment assistance benefits.
Floridians eligible for DUA include those who meet the following federal requirements:
- Exhausted entitlement to state Reemployment Assistance benefits (formerly unemployment compensation benefits) and worked or lived in a county for which the disaster has been officially declared; and
- Became unemployed as a direct result of a declared disaster; or
- Were unable to reach their place of employment as a direct result of the disaster; or
- Were scheduled to begin work and do not have a job or are unable to reach the job as a direct result of the disaster; or
- Became the major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of the disaster; or
- Cannot work because of an injury caused directly by the disaster.
Claims must be filed by August 6, 2012 for Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Franklin, Hernando, Highlands, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee and Wakulla, August 10, 2012 for Duval, Nassau and Union, August 13, 2012 for Hillsborough, Manatee and Taylor, and August 16, 2012 for Citrus, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Polk and Sarasota county residents to be eligible for DUA. DUA is available to unemployed individuals from the week ending June 30, 2012 and is payable for up to 28 weeks. DUA cannot be paid beyond the week ending January 5, 2013.
You must provide the following information to complete your application:
- Social Security number.
- Alien registration number and expiration date (if applicable).
- Name and address of your last employer.
- If you worked in another state during the past two years, have the name and address of the out-of-state employer.
- If self-employed and have proof of self-employment for the past two years. (For example, W-2 statements, state or federal tax returns, bank records of accounts, statement from a bank showing your business account, or a copy of title or deed to a business property.)
- If you were scheduled to work but could not work due to the disaster, you must have the name and address of the employer and date you were scheduled to work.
General Disaster Unemployment Assistance Information
Disaster Unemployment Assistance is a federally funded benefit program that assists individuals who become unemployed because of a disaster. This program works as follows:
- The Governor must request assistance.
- The President of the United States approves assistance.
- A signed agreement must be in effect prior to any action being taken.
- After a disaster is declared, an official announcement regarding the availability of Disaster Unemployment Assistance funds must be made by the state employment security agency.
- All eligible individuals have 30 days from the announcement date to file a claim for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. If the date of separation is later than the announcement date, state law will apply.
- The disaster period is the 26-week period beginning with the first week following the date the major disaster began and ending with the 26th week subsequent to the date the major disaster was declared.
- Depending on the date of the declaration, it is possible for individuals to receive more than 26 weeks of benefits.
- An individual must exhaust all entitlement (Reemployment Assistance, Emergency Unemployment Compensation) prior to being eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. A claimant who is disqualified from receiving regular reemployment benefits may be entitled to Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
- The Disaster Unemployment Assistance entitlement will be calculated with a base period of the most recent tax year that ended prior to the individual’s unemployment that was the direct result of a disaster.
- For any week that the claimant’s earnings are in excess of the calculated weekly benefit amount, the individual receives no payment for the week.
- Appeals Information:
- The claimant will have 60 days to appeal a determination or redetermination.
- All Disaster Unemployment Assistance appeals will be decided within 30 days of receipt.
- The claimant will have 15 days to appeal the referee’s decision to the Regional Administrator.
- The Regional Administrator will have 45 days to obtain the records and issue a decision.
- The decision by the Regional Administrator must be issued within 90 days after the day on which the claimant’s original decision was received by the state agency.
- Aliens may receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits if they meet the “able and available” criteria by state law, Aliens must be “able and available” for work and authorized by Immigration and Naturalization Service to work in the United States.