Florida Should Extend Disaster Unemployment Assistance Filing Deadline

Florida has set a Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) filing deadline of October 16th for all 48 counties included in the federal disaster declaration following Hurricane Irma. Florida should follow the example of Texas and extend the normal 30-day application period for DUA as a sensible step to help assure that assistance remains available to those who have lost work as a direct result of these disasters.

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

Many workers and self-employed Floridians are financially strained from the loss of work and by their families’ extraordinary needs as they try to recover. Extending the DUA filing deadline in Florida – particularly in light of the difficulties people face in being able to access the filing system itself in the state – should be a no-brainer.

After Hurricane Harvey, with thousands of displaced workers in Texas facing imminent deadlines (9/27, 9/29, 10/5) for filing DUA applications, the Texas Workforce Commission on September 20th announced an extension of the deadline to October 31st, which was approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Extending the DUA application deadlines after the severe sorts of major disasters we’re now experiencing is just one of the sensible steps NELP proposes for states and the federal government in this recent fact sheet.

As the table below details, such DUA filing deadline extensions have been common after hurricanes, floods, and other disasters in recent years; some have seen multiple extensions.

State Disaster FEMA Declaration Declaration Date Extended Filing Date Designated Areas
Louisiana Flooding DR-4277 Aug. 14, 2016 Oct. 14, 2016 22 parishes
Rhode Island Hurricane Sandy DR-4089 Nov. 3, 2012 Feb. 4, 2013 2 counties
New York Remnants of Tropical Storm Lee DR-4031 Sept. 13, 2011 Nov. 14, 2011 13 counties
Vermont Tropical Storm Irene DR-4022 Sept. 1, 2011 Nov. 21, 2011 12 counties
New York Hurricane Irene DR-4020 Aug. 31, 2011 Nov. 16, 2011 28 counties
Puerto Rico Severe Storms and Flooding DR-1798 Oct. 1, 2008 Jan. 15, 2009 21 municipalities
Texas Hurricane Ike DR-1791 Sept. 13, 2008 Dec. 12, 2008 34 counties
Iowa Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding DR-1763 May 27, 2008 Aug. 12, 2008 62 counties
Florida Hurricane Jeanne DR-1561 Sept. 26, 2004 Dec. 27, 2004 47 counties
Colorado Wildfires DR-1421 June 19, 2002 Aug. 23, 2002 58 counties
Virginia Severe Storms and Flooding DR-1386 July 12, 2001 Oct. 10, 2001 8 counties
Minnesota Flooding DR-1370 May 16, 2001 July 31, 2001 57 counties


In addition, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, filing deadlines were extended several times in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, New York and elsewhere, and durations of weeks of DUA benefits were also extended.

Neither Texas nor Florida has, to date, provided an extension of the 21-day deadline that governs when DUA applicants must submit the wage and employment history information required to process DUA claims.

Florida should immediately request at least a 30-day extension of the DUA filing deadline from the U.S. Department of Labor and extend the 21-day deadline for submitting documentation.



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