Disaster Unemployment Assistance Approved For Those Impacted By Storm Damage

(Photo: FOX26)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KMJ/FOX26) — Disaster unemployment assistance has been approved for those impacted by devastating storms in Dec. and Jan.

There are now benefits available to people in the counties of Sacramento, Merced, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and San Joaquin.

The assistance is specifically for those impacted by flooding, landslides, and mudslides that started on December 27th.

You can now file for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) with the help of the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

The EDD is administering these benefits, which are available to workers, business owners, and self-employed individuals who lost their jobs or businesses, or had their work hours reduced or interrupted due to impacts brought about by the severe storms.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has determined that individuals who lost work or self-employment as a direct result of impacts caused by ongoing severe storms in the identified counties are now eligible to apply for federal DUA benefits.

The FEMA approval is for FEMA designated disaster area 4683-DR.

DUA applies to losses beginning the week of January 1, 2023, for claimants impacted by the storms.

  • Eligible full-time workers and self-employed individuals can receive between $166 and $450 a week in benefits for a maximum period of 28 weeks.
  • Part-time workers and self-employed part-time individuals may also be eligible for benefits.

The last payable week of this emergency benefit ends July 15, 2023, as long as their unemployment or loss of self-employment continues to be a result of the disaster.

DUA benefits are offered to victims of a federally-declared disaster and are available to individuals who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Worked or were a business owner or self-employed, or were scheduled to begin or resume work or self-employment, in the disaster area and lost work or had their hours reduced or interrupted due to the disaster. This includes, but is not limited to, those in the agricultural and fishing industries.
  • Cannot reach work because of the disaster or can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment or self-employment as a direct result of the disaster.
  • Reside in the major disaster area and cannot reach their place of work or self-employment outside the major disaster area due to the disaster.
  • Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster.
  • Became the major support for their household because of the death of their head of household caused by the disaster.

Individuals must have applied for and used all regular unemployment benefits, or do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits and remain unemployed as a direct result of the disaster. Also, the work or self-employment they can no longer perform must have been their primary source of income.

Applications for DUA benefits must be filed by February 22, 2023, unless the individual has good cause to file a late application.

In addition, to receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the day the DUA application is filed. Required documentation includes the most recent federal income tax form or check stubs, or other documentation to support that the individuals were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred. Documentation for the self-employed can be obtained from banks, government entities, or affidavits from individuals having knowledge of their business.

EDD is required to first check to see if the applicant is eligible for regular state provided Unemployment Insurance benefits before processing the claim for DUA benefits. The fastest and easiest way for new claimants to apply for DUA is to use EDD’s UI Online application, which is available in both English and Spanish.

Applicants can also get assistance at local job centers and Local Assistance Centers or Disaster Recovery Centers.

In addition, claimants can apply for DUA by phone between 8 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays:

  • English: 1-800-300-5616
  • Spanish: 1-800-326-8937
  • Armenian: 1-855-528-1518
  • Chinese (Cantonese): 1-800-547-3506
  • Chinese (Mandarin): 1-866-303-0706
  • Korean: 1-844-660-0877
  • Tagalog: 1-866-395-1513
  • Vietnamese: 1-800-547-2058

EDD’s Disaster-Related Services webpage includes more information for individuals and businesses impacted by disasters, including tax filing extensions for affected employers.

EDD also encourages individuals to visit the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services website for the latest information on Local Assistance Centers where individuals, families and businesses can access disaster assistance programs and services.