Supporting Workers Affected by Disasters

Hundreds of thousands of workers have been displaced from employment by major disasters in recent years. Devastating hurricanes have hit Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, North Carolina and elsewhere. Massive wildfires have swept through many communities in northern and southern California. Historic floods are inundating farms, towns, and rural infrastructure in the Midwest.

While the pace of climate change goes unchecked, these disasters have become more severe and more frequent. Recovery from such disasters requires the marshalling and coordination of substantial resources.

For workers and self-employed individuals displaced from employment by these disasters, there is help.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a federally-funded program that provides temporary financial assistance to individuals unemployed as a direct result of a “major disaster” declared by the president.

Special Extension of Disaster Unemployment Assistance After Hurricanes Maria and Irma for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Extended weeks of Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) are available on a temporary basis to qualified workers and self-employed individuals who became unemployed in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands as a result of Hurricane Maria or Hurricane Irma.

As a result of a new law passed by the U.S. Congress in 2018, workers may be eligible for up to 52 weeks of federally-funded DUA — a historic extension of an extra 26 weeks of benefits. People on the islands as well as those who were unemployed and relocated to the mainland may be eligible.

The deadline to apply for extended weeks of DUA is May 24, 2019, for both the Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands programs.

These fact sheets provide essential information on who may be eligible and how to apply:

Puerto Rico

Special 2019 Extension of Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance for Puerto Rico After Hurricanes Maria and Irma

Extensión especial de la asistencia federal por desempleo tras el paso de los huracanes María e Irma

U.S. Virgin Islands

Special 2019 Extension of Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance for the U.S. Virgin Islands After Hurricanes Maria and Irma

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Available to Workers and Farmers Displaced from Employment by Midwest Flooding

Major disaster declarations for designated counties in Iowa and Nebraska have triggered the availability of DUA benefits for workers, farmers, and self-employed individuals who are unemployed as a result of the historic Midwest flooding.

This fact sheet details where DUA benefits are available, who may be eligible, how to file a claim, and the deadline to apply:

Disaster Unemployment Assistance: How Workers Can Access the Program After the 2019 Midwest Floods

Resources

Additional Resources for People Affected by Disasters

People eligible for DUA may also be eligible for food assistance from the USDA. Read more here.

Resources for Immigrants Affected by Disasters:

How You Can Help

The following organizations are accepting donations to help communities affected by the disasters:

Thank you for your generous support to these communities that need your help now.

Protecting Workers in Cleanup and Rebuilding Efforts

Workers involved in the clean-up and rebuilding efforts will be exposed to many hazards that can cause serious injury or even death. It’s crucial that workers are adequately trained and protected. Here is information about the dangers and necessary protective equipment to keep workers safe.

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