You may be able to get Disaster Unemployment Assistance payments if you lose your job or can’t work because of a major disaster. Find out when and how you can get this aid.
Page last updated: 03/31/2023
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a weekly payment you can get from the government if you lose your job or can’t work because of a major disaster. A major disaster could be a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, or tornado. Or it could be other types of disasters, such as an explosion or natural gas leaks.
You’re eligible for these payments when the U.S. president announces that a disaster has happened in your area. The government then offers DUA to people affected by the disaster. If a major disaster affects your job status, you could get these payments for as long as 26 weeks.
You can likely apply for DUA benefits if all the conditions listed below are true for you:
You’re allowed to receive DUA benefits for many reasons. The most common one is that you lost your job because the disaster damaged or destroyed a business that had been supplying more than half of your employer’s revenue.
Some states and territories have different rules for who may be eligible because of job loss. For example, in Texas, the job you lost must account for more than half of your income. That means you might not be able to get DUA for losing a part-time job. The U.S. Department of Labor can guide you to unemployment assistance information for your state or territory.
You can also receive DUA benefits if you can show that one of the following things happened to you because of the disaster:
To keep getting the DUA benefits, you must show that:
Your state or territory will announce whether DUA is available. You can apply through the unemployment agency in your state or territory as soon as possible after this happens. If you’ve been displaced — that is, you moved to another state for now or for good — you still must file your claim in the state where the disaster occurred.
Use CareerOneStop’s Unemployment Benefits Finder to find websites and phone numbers for the office in your state or territory.
The application process and requirements vary by state and territory. Your state or territory’s unemployment benefits website should include information on the specific application process and requirements. Usually, you must:
You can prove you had a job and how much pay you received by providing one of the following documents:
If you are self-employed, you must provide a tax return.
If you aren’t a U.S. citizen but are authorized to work, you might qualify for DUA. You’ll have to prove your immigration status. This proof could include a green card or work permit.
To learn more about the program, you can call the U.S. Department of Labor toll-free at 877-872-5627.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing, or if you have a speech impairment, you can call 877-889-5627. This toll-free number has TTY. TTY is a device connected to a telephone line that allows people to send and receive text messages.