Disaster Assistance

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a federally funded program that provides financial and reemployment assistance to certain individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster. Based on a request from the Governor, the President of the United States declares that a major disaster has occurred in a defined area and that certain relief assistance is available. If the declaration includes DUA, WorkForce WV will announce a 30-day period for filing applications for Federal DUA benefits.

Qualifying for DUA

When a major disaster has been declared by the President of the United States, DUA is generally available to any unemployed worker or self-employed individual who lived, worked, or were scheduled to work in the disaster area at the time of the disaster. At least one of the following conditions of unemployment must have occurred as a direct result of the disaster in order to qualify for DUA benefits:

  • The individual is unable to reach their job because they must travel through the affected area and are unable to do so because of the disaster.
  • The individual was to begin employment but was prevented from doing so by the disaster. 
  • The individual became the major support for a household because of the death of the head of the household as a result of the disaster.  
  • The individual cannot work because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster.
  • The individual is unable to work because the disaster caused such widespread economic distress to an industry that there is a limited amount of work available. 

Eligibility Requirements

Individuals who meet one of the qualifying conditions above must also meet all of the following eligibility requirements to be eligible for DUA:

  • The individual must be legally authorized to work in the United States.
  • The individual must not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits in any state.
  • The individual must be able to work full-time and be available to work full-time, unless injured as a direct result of the disaster.
  • The individual must be actively seeking full-time work.
  • The individual has not refused an offer or referral of suitable work.
  • The individual must have filed an application for DUA within sixty (60) days from the date of the disaster declaration.
  • The individual must provide WorkForce WV with proof of employment/wages earned in the calendar year prior to the disaster within twenty-one (21) days of applying for DUA.
  • The individual is submitting timely DUA benefit payment requests.

Applying for DUA

WorkForce WV must determine if you are eligible for regular unemployment benefits before an individual can receive DUA benefits. Click here to file for regular unemployment and complete the online application for a new claim. If there is a potential that an individual is ineligible for regular unemployment benefits, they will be asked to complete an application for DUA benefits.

Please Note: DUA benefits are not the same as help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). You must apply separately for FEMA assistance through FEMA.

Questions

For more information on DUA benefits, please email us at ucpolicy@wv.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits?

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a federally funded program that provides financial and reemployment assistance to certain individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster. Based on a request from the Governor, the President of the United States declares that a major disaster has occurred in a defined area and that certain relief assistance is available. If the declaration includes DUA, WorkForce WV will announce a 60-day period for filing applications for Federal DUA benefits. The sixty (60) day filing period starts from the date of the disaster declaration.

How do I qualify for DUA benefits?

When a major disaster has been declared by the President of the United States, DUA is generally available to any unemployed worker or self-employed individual who lived, worked, or were scheduled to work in the disaster area at the time of the disaster. One of the following conditions of unemployment must have occurred as a direct result of the disaster in order to qualify for DUA benefits: Please note, a direct result of a major disaster means an immediate result of the disaster itself, not the result of a longer chain of events caused or worsened by the disaster.
The individual is unable to reach their job because they must travel through the affected area and are unable to do so because of the disaster.
The individual was to begin employment but was prevented from doing so by the disaster. 
The individual became the major support for a household because of the death of the head of the household as a result of the disaster.  
The individual cannot work because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster.

What are the eligibility requirements for DUA benefits?

Individuals who meet one of the qualifying conditions above must also meet all of the following eligibility requirements to be eligible for DUA:
The individual must be legally authorized to work in the United States.
The individual must not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits in any state.
The individual must be able to work full-time and be available to work full-time, unless injured as a direct result of the disaster.
The individual must be actively seeking full-time work.
The individual has not refused an offer or referral of suitable work.
The individual must have filed an application for DUA within sixty (60) days from the date of the disaster declaration.
The individual must provide WorkForce WV with proof of employment/wages earned in the calendar year prior to the disaster within twenty-one (21) days of applying for DUA.
The individual is submitting timely DUA benefit payment requests.

How do I apply for DUA benefits?

WorkForce WV must determine if you are eligible for regular unemployment benefits before an individual can receive DUA benefits. Visit uc.workforcewv.org to file for regular unemployment and complete the online application for a new claim. If there is a potential that an individual is ineligible for regular unemployment benefits, they will be asked to complete an application for DUA benefits.
Please Note: DUA benefits are not the same as help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). You must apply separately for FEMA assistance through FEMA.

How long do I have to apply for DUA benefits?

You have thirty (30) days to file an application for DUA once WorkForce WV has announced the availability of DUA for the county in which you work or reside.  

I applied for DUA benefits. What do I do next?

Provide WorkForce WV with proof of employment/wages earned in the calendar year prior to the disaster within twenty-one (21) days of applying for DUA benefits. 

What if I am self-employed, do I have to look for work?

If you are self-employed and are taking steps to reopen your business, you do not have to search for full-time work.  If you do not plan to reopen your business, you must actively search for full-time work.

What is proof of employment?

WorkForce WV must have proof, as required by federal law, that you were working or self-employed at the time of the disaster; or scheduled to start work on or after the date of the disaster. 
Examples of documentation include:
Federal income tax Form 1040; and Schedule C, F, or SE for the most recently completed tax year.
A letter from a potential employer.
Earnings statement information or a written statement from your employer.
Property titles or deeds for the place of business, copy of Rental Agreement or letter from a property owner showing that you operated or planned to open a business at the time of the disaster.
Proof of the existence of the business such as advertising, state tax registration, business license, etc.

How do I request payment of DUA benefits?

WorkForce WV uses paper forms to process DUA payment requests.  We will send you paper Payment Request forms for each two-week period.  Complete the payment request form and email it to ucpolicy@wv.gov, or you may report to the nearest WorkForce WV local office and deliver it in person by the date shown on the form.  Answer each question truthfully. Knowingly giving false information or withholding information to obtain or increase a benefit is fraud, and you can be prosecuted under state and federal laws.
Do not return the payment request form if you have returned to full-time work, or you resumed normal self-employment activities.
IMPORTANT: You cannot request payment online or by telephone. You must use the paper forms that WorkForce WV sends to you.

How do I report wages/income on my Weekly Certification form?

Employees, workers, or contract laborers must report the total gross wages before deductions (such as taxes) and the wages from all work (whether full-time, part-time, temporary, or contract work) in the week you performed the work, not the week when earnings are paid.
If you are self-employed, you must report the total gross earnings and commissions before deductions in the week you earn the income.
NOTE:  Self-employed farmers must also report subsidy/price support payments, crop insurance and farm disaster relief (non-DUA) payments.

How do I receive DUA payments?

WorkForce WV pays DUA benefits by check.

How long can I receive DUA benefits?

DUA benefits are available only during the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Period, which begins with the first week following the date that the major disaster is declared.  WorkForce WV will pay benefits as long as directed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and DUA regulations. The date of each DUA claim will be backdated to the Sunday of the week in which the claimant became unemployed due to the major disaster.
WorkForce WV can pay you DUA benefits until the end of the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Period or you return to work and your unemployment is no longer a direct result of the disaster, whichever comes first. We determine your eligibility for DUA benefits on a week-to-week basis after reviewing your payment request.

What if my DUA Benefit Determination is incorrect or is missing wages?

DUA is different from regular UI. WorkForce WV may use income not normally covered by regular UI, such as contract labor or self-employment earnings, to establish a DUA claim.
If you are missing wages on your DUA Benefit Determination, or if you disagree with the potential benefit amount, you may request a redetermination of your benefit amount by supplying proof of wages/income earned in the calendar year prior to the disaster within twenty-one (21) days of applying for DUA.
Workers/employees/contract laborers should send pay stubs, earnings statements, IRS Form W-2, and/or IRS Form 1099.
Self-employed individuals should send IRS Form 1040 and a copy of Schedule C, F, or SE return.
WorkForce WV cannot accept any proof or adjust your wages/weekly benefit amount after the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Period ends.  
You may submit your documents via email to ucpolicy@wv.gov, or you may report to the nearest WorkForce WV local office and deliver them in person.

Can WorkForce WV reduce my DUA payments?

WorkForce WV may reduce your DUA benefit payments if you receive:
Benefits or insurance for loss of wages due to illness or disability.
Supplemental unemployment benefits paid pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.
Private income protection insurance.
Workers’ Compensation or survivor’s benefits if you become the major wage earner of the family as a result of the death of the head of the household because of the disaster.
Retirement, pension or annuity benefits.
Earnings from employment or self-employment.
Subsidy/price support payments, crops insurance, and farm disaster relief payments (not to be confused with DUA), provided services were performed.
A court order to pay child support.
An outstanding overpayment of unemployment compensation benefits.

When will my DUA benefits end?

WorkForce WV may reduce or stop your DUA benefits if any of the following occur:
You become employed or fully resume pre-disaster self-employment activities.
You are no longer unemployed as a direct result of the disaster.
You are not able to work full-time or available to work full-time.
You do not search for full-time work.
You refuse to accept suitable work or a referral to suitable work without good cause.
You receive a retirement pension or annuity, private insurance benefits for loss of wages, Workers’ Compensation or survivors’ benefits, or other supplemental unemployment benefits.
The Disaster Unemployment Assistance Period ends.
You become eligible for regular UI benefits.

Are DUA benefits taxable?

Yes, DUA benefits are taxable.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires you to report your DUA benefits as income. WorkForce WV mails IRS Form 1099-G in January, which lists the total amount of all benefits you received during the calendar year.

Can you withhold income tax?

Yes, if requested we can withhold taxes in the amount of 3% for state income tax and 10% for federal income tax.

How do I file an appeal?

If you disagree with the determination on your DUA claim, you have sixty (60) days from the date WorkForce WV mailed the decision to appeal. To file an appeal, you need to provide a copy of the determination you are appealing and include your current address and telephone number with your letter of appeal. You may file your appeal via email at ucpolicy@wv.gov, or you may file in person by going to the nearest WorkForce WV local office.
Please note that it is in your best interest to continue to request payment every two weeks while you wait for the results of the appeal. If the appeal decision is in your favor, WorkForce WV can pay you only for the weeks in which you requested payment and met all other eligibility requirements. Therefore, unless you return to employment, do not stop filing your weekly certifications. 

What are the penalties for fraud?

It is your responsibility to give truthful, complete answers when you apply for benefits and request payment. Fraud is knowingly giving false information, or failing to give information, to obtain or increase a benefit.
If you commit fraud, you: lose your remaining benefits; must repay any benefits you received; and may face criminal prosecution. If convicted, you could face a fine and jail time. DUA benefits are paid using federal funds. All information is subject to verification by WorkForce WV and the U.S. Department of Labor. Criminal and/or civil penalties will be enforced for violation of state and/or federal laws.