[Excerpt] Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits are available only to those individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of a declared major disaster and are not eligible for regular Unemployment Compensation (UC). First created in 1970 through P.L. 91-606, DUA benefits are authorized by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Relief Act (the Stafford Act), which authorizes the President to issue a major disaster declaration after state and local government resources have been overwhelmed by a natural catastrophe or, “regardless of cause, any fire, flood, or explosion in any part of the United States” (42 U.S.C. §5122(2)).
The DUA program provides income support to individuals who become unemployed as a direct result of a major disaster and who have no remaining entitlement for regular UC benefits. DUA is funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) through each state’s UC agency. DUA beneficiaries (because they are not entitled to regular UC) are not eligible to receive Extended Benefits (EB).
On October 5, 2018, P.L. 115-254, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, was signed into law. Among its many provisions, it temporarily extends the duration of DUA for an additional 26 weeks (up to 52 weeks total) for persons who were unemployed in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands as a direct result of the 2017 Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria disasters.
This report contains information on how to ascertain if an individual is eligible for DUA benefits.