Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Jobs, Other Assistance Available for Workers Dislocated by Florida Storms

8/24/2004 12:07:00 PM


To: National Desk

Contact: Lorette Post of the U.S. Department of Labor, 202-693-3984

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 /U.S. Newswire/ -- U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao has announced a National Emergency Grant of up to $50 million, with an initial release of $16.5 million, to assist workers in Florida affected by Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley.

"President Bush and I want workers affected by this disaster to know that help is available now," said Secretary of Labor Chao. "Federal and state agencies are working around the clock to make sure that dislocated workers have access to temporary jobs, supportive services such as transportation and child care expenses and disaster unemployment insurance as quickly and easily as possible."

The National Emergency Grant will provide temporary employment as well as supportive services to eligible workers. Information on employment assistance is available by calling toll free 1-800- 342-3450.

In addition to assistance provided through this grant, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has made $2 million available immediately to eligible dislocated workers through the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program, administered by the Department of Labor.

The major objective of DUA is to provide assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular state unemployment compensation. Individuals who meet these criteria can file claims online at http://www.floridajobs.org or by phone at 1-800-204-2418. Operating One-Stop Career Centers and mobile One-Stop units are also accepting claims applications.


U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov . The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7765 or TTY 202-693-7755. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.


A document outlining questions and answers about DUA for the State of Florida is below.
What is Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)?

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) provides assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster and who are NOT eligible for regular state unemployment insurance. The U.S. Department of Labor oversees DUA and coordinates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which provides the funds for payment of DUA and state administration (see note 1). DUA is administered by the state agency responsible for providing state unemployment insurance. In Florida, that is the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation headquartered in Tallahassee.

What triggers the availability of DUA?

Based upon the request of the Governor, the President may declare that a major disaster exists and define the areas in the state that are eligible for financial assistance. President Bush declared a major disaster in certain parts of the state of Florida on Aug. 13.

Who is eligible for DUA?

Payment will be made to an unemployed worker who as a direct result of a major disaster:
  1. No longer has a job;
  2. Is unable to reach their place of work;
  3. Was to commence work and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job;
  4. Has become the breadwinner for the household because the head of household died (see note 2); or
  5. Cannot work because of a disaster-incurred injury.

Payment will be made to an unemployed self-employed individual who as a direct result of a major disaster:
  1. No longer can perform regular services in self-employment;
  2. Is unable to reach the place where self-employment services are performed;
  3. Was to commence regular service in self-employment and does not have a place or is unable to reach the place where services were to be performed; or
  4. Cannot perform services because of a disaster-incurred injury.

NOTE: An individual who becomes a breadwinner due to the death of a self-employed individual is considered an unemployed worker for DUA purposes.

For each week of unemployment, an individual must meet the "able to work" requirement and the "available for work" requirement of the state unemployment insurance program.

How much DUA can someone receive and for how long?

The maximum weekly benefit amount in the state of Florida is $275. The disaster assistance period commences the week of Aug. 16, 2004 and ends on Feb. 12. An individual can receive up to 26 weeks of DUA benefits as long as the individual's unemployment or self-employment was caused by the major disaster and continues as a result of the disaster. Applications for DUA must be made within 30 days of Aug. 16, 2004. DUA claims are being taken by Internet, telephone and mail. While some of the One-Stop Centers in the interior of the state are closed due to damage, the Florida agency is using a mobile One-Stop stationed in Charlotte County to take UI and DUA claims. The first check should arrive approximately three weeks after the initial claim is made. To file a DUA claim in Florida or for questions call 1-800-204-2418.

  1. DUA is considered an entitlement benefit subject to meeting the eligibility requirements detailed below.
  2. The individual becoming the breadwinner does not need to have wage credits and could be eligible for DUA even if the deceased individual would have had regular unemployment insurance eligibility. The breadwinner is entitled to the higher of the DUA amount based on either the deceased head of household's wages or their own DUA amount calculated under the provisions of the DUA regulations.


/© 2004 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

No comments: