Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides services under the state unemployment insurance (UI) program. Although administered through , Disaster Unemployment Assistance eligibility is mainly influenced by the federal government’s U.S. Department of Labor and State Employment Security Agencies. Part of the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974, the Disaster Unemployment Assistance application is only available to petitioners who meet certain requirements in specific circumstances. However, residents who learn how to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance before these devastating events occur, as to be ahead of other prospective applicants.
Learn About Disaster Unemployment Assistance Requirements
Disaster Unemployment Assistance eligibility is determined by a number of factors. CA residents can only be eligibility for Disaster Unemployment Assistance in the event that the U.S. president declares a major disaster, such as an earthquake, hurricane, flood, fire or tornado. You may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance if you were living or working in an area where a natural disaster. However, you must have been affected by the disaster such as losing your job, being unable to reach your place of work or becoming unable to work due to a disaster-related illness or injury.
You may also qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance if you have become the head of a household and you are actively seeking work because the former head of household died as a result of the natural disaster. Unlike standard unemployment insurance eligibility, you will not need to be looking, able and available for work if you have sustained an injury caused by the disaster or you are planning to return to self-employment.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits are only available for you if you do not have coverage from any other unemployment insurance programs. You cannot receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance and regular unemployment insurance benefits at the same time.
Learn more about qualifying for unemployment benefits and applying for the program successfully in our comprehensive guide.
Learn About Disaster Unemployment Assistance Payments
If you meet the qualifications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance eligibility then you will receive payments from the program on a weekly basis. The amount of Disaster Unemployment Assistance you will receive is determined in the same way that regular unemployment insurance payments are calculated. Disaster Unemployment Assistance is calculated based on a 12-month base period, which is divided into quarters. The base period will be the most recent tax year before the last quarter you were working. For most people, Disaster Unemployment Assistance is determined based on the prior calendar year. However, if you were self-employed, you may base your claim on your net self-employment earnings in your most recently completed tax year.
Your amount of Disaster Unemployment Assistance will be reduced by:
- Insurance for wage loss due to disability or illness
- Partial earnings
- Supplemental UI benefits which are a result of union agreements
- Private income protection insurance
Disaster Unemployment Assistance is only payable for the weeks within the designated Disaster Assistance Period. This period commences on the first day of the week after the president declares a disaster and ends 26 weeks after.
Learn How to File a Claim for Disaster Unemployment Assistance
You can file a claim for Disaster Unemployment Assistance only after the U.S. president has declared a disaster. The EDD will announce details regarding the Disaster Unemployment Assistance application process in effected areas at that time. If you think you are eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, you should contact the EDD office as soon as possible. You may be able to submit your Disaster Unemployment Assistance application online or by phone.
Note: You may not need to submit a Disaster Unemployment Assistance application if you were injured or became ill as a result of the natural disaster. In these cases, you may be eligible for disability insurance. Many employees have coverage under the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. You will not need to be actively looking for work nor will you have to accept a suitable job offer should the opportunity arise if you qualify.
Learn About Looking for a Job While Claiming Disaster Unemployment Assistance
If you meet the Disaster Unemployment Assistance eligibility requirements and you are actively seeking employment, then the EDD offers a range of employment services to help you. Residents who know how to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance can obtain with finding job listings, employment workshops, information about wages and benefits and employment training in the local community.
If you have lost your job due to a disaster or emergency, then any EDD offices that are located within America’s Job Center of will remain open providing that there are no health and safety risk to employees or the public. You should call them first to see if they are accessible. In the event that they cannot remain open, some disaster areas will set up temporary local assistance centers and voluntary agencies so that you can access resources and information. You may also benefit from contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which will be able to provide you with information on the Disaster Unemployment Assistance application process and applying for other forms of disaster assistance, such as disaster loans and temporary housing assistance.
Download our free guide for more details about welfare assistance and applying for benefits.