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Specific Worker Initiatives
April 5, 2006
1. Who qualifies for the new extension of disaster jobless benefits, and how long will their additional benefits last?
2. What about those who collected regular state unemployment benefits after the storm and reached the end of their jobless benefits? Do they also qualify for the DUA extension?
3. Is there a deadline to apply for the DUA program? If so, is there an exception for those who missed the deadline if they were receiving regular state unemployment benefits?
4. Do those people who collected regular state jobless benefits also collect 13 weeks of additional DUA like those who started off collecting DUA after the storms?
Example: Esther was unemployed as a result of Hurricane Katrina, and her regular Mississippi unemployment bemefits ran out on February 4th after she received 22 weeks of benefits. She can collect up to 17 weeks of DUA for the period from February 4th when her regular benefits ran out to June 3rd when the DUA program ends. Esther’s total state and federal DUA benefits come to 39 weeks, which is the maximum number of weeks allowed under the DUA program.
Note: In Louisiana, some workers qualified for another program of jobless benefits called “Extended Benefits,” which ended February 25th. Their DUA benefits will start from the date their Extended Benefits ended instead of when they reached the end of their regular state unemployment benefits.
State Minimum Weeks of Regular Jobless Benefits
5. How much will workers collect each week when they qualify for the extension of DUA benefits?
Those who started collecting DUA just after the storms will continue to collect the same amount each week under the extension of DUA benefits (see below for the minimum DUA weekly amounts for each state). However, those who started collecting DUA after reaching the end of their regular state unemployment benefits may collect more than they previously received if their regular state benefits were less than the minimum weekly DUA amount for each state.
Example: Mike was collecting $50 a week in regular Louisiana unemployment benefits after losing his job because of Hurricane Katrina. Under the new extension of jobless benefits, his benefits will increase to $97 per week, which is the minimum weekly amount of DUA in Louisiana.
Note: Some workers may receive a little less in DUA benefits each week than they collected in regular unemployment benefits. That is because DUA benefits are based on the individual’s 2004 earnings, which may be less compared to the more recent earnings that are used to calculate how much workers collect in regular state unemployment benefits.
State Minimum State Jobless Benefits Minimum DUA Benefits
6. What is the process to apply for the extension of DUA benefits?
The process to apply will be a little different in each state. Anyone who was unemployed as result of Hurricane Katrina or Rita and ran out of their unemployment benefits should have received a notice in the mail letting them know they may qualify for the DUA extension and describing the process for applying. In Louisiana, workers will be automatically enrolled in the DUA extension program as long as they first make the weekly call (to the number provided in the state notices) required to report that they are available for work and looking for work and to comply with other DUA weekly reporting rules.
For questions about the DUA extension of benefits, contact your state Labor Department::
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