Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available to qualifying senior citizens and other U.S. residents as part of the Emergency Assistance Act of 1974. Seniors may complete a Disaster Unemployment Assistance application if they meet program requirements and believe they are eligible to receive these DUA benefits. To meet disaster unemployment assistance eligibility requirements, however, employment must be interrupted or lost as the result of a major natural disaster. Additionally, senior disaster unemployment benefits are only available to claimants who are not eligible for standard unemployment insurance (UI) compensation. If petitioners do meet senior disaster unemployment assistance eligibility requirements, however, they may file a claim through their state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency as soon as DUA benefits become available in the state in which they live. However, senior disaster unemployment assistance is not available at all times. To learn more about how to apply for disaster unemployment assistance, seniors can download our comprehensive guide. For additional information on Disaster Unemployment Assistance for seniors, potential applicants can review the sections below.
What is Disaster Unemployment Assistance and how does it benefit seniors?
Seniors who meet disaster unemployment assistance eligibility requirements may obtain temporary financial assistance under the DUA program if they are unable to perform work after a disaster declared by the president. Senior Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to qualifying claimants in affected U.S. states and territories during periods of major disaster, including residents of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. For example, Disaster Unemployment Assistance became available to qualifying Puerto Ricans after residents were affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Other affected U.S. residents, like those in Florida or Georgia, also received DUA benefits following the disaster after completing the application process.
As part of the senior DUA program, the president may issue a declaration of disaster to allow for the distribution of unemployment and reemployment benefits if claimants are unable to work or travel to their place of employment due to a catastrophe. Claimants who meet disaster unemployment assistance eligibility requirements receive up to 26 weeks of UI compensation or until the state’s Disaster Assistance Period (DAP) ends. Furthermore, a period of Disaster Unemployment Assistance begins the first day of the week following the day in which the President declares the major disaster. However, specific senior disaster Unemployment Assistance benefit amounts vary by state.
Once a senior Disaster Unemployment Assistance Period begins, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) manages the DUA program along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, State UI Agencies administer senior DUA program benefits and notify potential claimants when these benefits become available. Additionally, FEMA lists Disaster Unemployment Assistance news releases on its website, along with specific application requirements and deadlines. To learn more about Disaster Unemployment Assistance for seniors, download our comprehensive guide.
Who meets disaster unemployment assistance requirements?
Employed seniors may apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance during a DAP period if they cannot work due to catastrophic conditions in the area in which they live or work. Senior disaster unemployment assistance eligibility requirements pertain to affected state, tribal, local and territorial governments after the president issues a disaster declaration. Applying for DUA benefits is similar to the unemployment application process in that applicants must meet all requirements and receive approval for aid, but this type of assistance is only available during specific disaster periods. Additionally, senior Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to qualifying self-employed workers if they cannot work as a direct result of a catastrophe. Seniors may complete a Disaster Unemployment Assistance application if at least one of the following conditions applies after a major disaster:
- Seniors cannot travel to their place of employment
- The employment opportunity is no longer available
- Seniors cannot work due to a disaster-related injury
- The place of employment is closed due to disaster-related damages
To complete a Disaster Unemployment Assistance application as a senior, claimants must also be willing and able to work, unless they sustained a disaster-related injury. Additionally, claimants may only receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance if they do not meet the eligibility requirements for standard UI benefits under the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program. To meet disaster unemployment assistance eligibility requirements, seniors must also be able to provide proof of U.S. citizenship status and identity. However, disaster unemployment benefits are available to claimants regardless of age, sex, race, religion, economic status or disability.
How to Apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance as a Senior
During a Disaster Unemployment Assistance Period, State UI Agencies must publish announcements to notify citizens of the available DUA benefits in the state. Additionally, these senior DUA announcements generally include state-specific application instructions. To apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance after these benefits become available, seniors must contact their State Unemployment Insurance Agency for additional application requirements. However, the process of how to apply for disaster unemployment assistance as a senior generally varies by state. If claimants need to complete a Disaster Unemployment Assistance application after evacuating their state due to catastrophic conditions, they will still need to contact their state’s UI Agency, as seniors may be able to apply for benefits by telephone, online or by mail. Furthermore, claimants must complete senior Disaster Unemployment Assistance applications within 30 days from the date in which the statewide announcement was released. Getting more information about a senior Disaster Unemployment Assistance application can help seniors maintain a source of income after natural disasters threaten employment and income.