Disaster unemployment assistance deadline extended

REGION — The U.S. Department of Labor has extended the application deadline for disaster unemployment assistance (DUA). DUA is a federal program designed to help people who lost their jobs because of a natural disaster. This program gives temporary income to those who don’t qualify for regular unemployment insurance (UI).

Qualified applicants in Caledonia, Chittenden, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham, and Windsor counties now have until Sept. 29 to apply for benefits.

The new deadline of Sept. 29 provides uniformity for all Vermonters in the designated counties. The state encourages those eligible to apply for the DUA benefits as soon as possible.

Before you can apply for DUA, you must apply for regular UI benefits first. If you do not qualify, the Vermont Department of Labor will provide you with the application for DUA.

If you believe you may qualify for UI or DUA, take the following steps: file an initial unemployment insurance claim online, or call 877-214-3330 Monday-Friday. Based on your circumstances, the Department of Labor will determine if you are eligible for regular UI or DUA. If you are eligible for regular UI, you will need to log in to the regular Vermont UI online claimant portal each week you are unemployed and submit a claim. If you are eligible for DUA, you will receive instructions on how to file for a weekly claim for each week you are unemployed due to the disaster.

You will be asked on the initial claim form if you are able and available for work. If you are unable to work due to the July storms, you should select “yes” – if it weren’t for the disaster, you would be able and available to work.

You may qualify for DUA if you were unemployed for a week after the disaster started, you can’t get to your job, your job doesn’t exist anymore because of the disaster, you are now the main supporter of your family because the head of your household died in the disaster, you can’t work because you got hurt in the disaster, or you couldn’t start working because of the disaster.

The following documentation is required: Social Security number; name and address of your last employer; if you worked in another state during the past two years, have the name and address of the employer; if you are self-employed, have proof of self-employment for the past two years; and if you were scheduled to work but could not work due to the disaster, have the name and address of the employer and date you were scheduled to work.

For more information about how to apply, visit the Vermont Labor Department’s website at www.labor.vermont.gov/dua.

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