Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, authorizes the President to provide benefit assistance to individuals unemployed as a direct result of a major disaster. The U.S. Department of Labor oversees the DUA program and coordinates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to provide the funds to the state UI agencies for payment of DUA benefits and payment of state administration costs under agreements with the Secretary of Labor.


Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits.


When a major disaster has been declared by the President, DUA is generally available to any unemployed worker or self-employed individual who lived, worked, or was scheduled to work in the disaster area at the time of the disaster; and due to the disaster:

  • no longer has a job or a place to work; or
  • cannot reach the place of work; or
  • cannot work due to damage to the place of work; or
  • cannot work because of an injury caused by the disaster.

An individual who becomes the head of household and is seeking work because the former head of household died as a result of the disaster may also qualify for DUA benefits.


DUA benefits are payable to individuals (whose unemployment continues to be a result of the major disaster) only for weeks of unemployment in the Disaster Assistance Period (DAP). The DAP begins with the first day of the week following the date the major disaster began and continues for up to 26 weeks after the date the disaster was declared by the President.

The maximum weekly benefit amount payable is determined under the provisions of the state law for unemployment compensation in the state where the disaster occurred. However, the minimum weekly benefit amount payable is half (50%) of the average benefit amount in the state.

Filing a Claim

In the event of a disaster, the affected state will publish announcements about the availability of Disaster Unemployment Assistance. To file a claim, individuals who are unemployed as a direct result of the disaster should contact their State Unemployment Insurance agency.

Individuals who have moved or have been evacuated to another state should contact the affected state for claim filing instructions. Individuals can also contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency in the state where they are currently residing for claim filing assistance.

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