Major Unemployment Assistance Underway for those Affected by Hurricane Sandy
Friday, November 23, 2012
Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced this week that federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is now available to Rhode Islanders in Washington and Newport Counties who have lost their jobs as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
Workers in the affected counties may apply for DUA benefits if they have lost their job or major source of income because of the storm, and/or whose business is closed or inoperable because of the disaster. Also, workers who are unable to travel to their workplace because of storm-related damage or other transportation disruption may apply.
"Disaster Unemployment Assistance can provide important financial assistance to Rhode Islanders still recovering from the effects of the recent storm,” Governor Chafee stated. “In particular, this can help self-employed workers who are not normally covered by regular unemployment insurance."
The criterion for collecting Disaster Unemployment Assistance is broader than for collecting regular unemployment benefits and includes self-employed workers, such as small business owners, vendors, independent commercial fisherman and farmers and those who may not qualify for regular unemployment benefits due to the storm.
Individuals seeking DUA benefits should file online for regular unemployment insurance at http://www.dlt.ri.gov and indicate that the reason for their unemployment is due to the storm. These individuals will then be contacted by the department on a first-come, first-serve basis to process their DUA claim.
Under the federal guidelines, the earliest start date for Rhode Island-based DUA claims is October 28, 2012, and the first payable week of benefits is November 3, 2012. Impacted workers may be entitled to up to 27 weeks of DUA benefits. In Rhode Island, Sandy-related DUA benefits conclude the week ending May 4, 2013.
USDOL has approved an extension for individuals who need to file for DUA benefits. Affected workers may file an application for DUA through February 4, 2013.