Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

Update Sept. 10, 2021: Following a federal disaster declaration due to the effects of Tropical Storm Fred, Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits are available in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties. Individuals in these three counties have 30 days from September 10, 2021, to file an application for Disaster Unemployment Assistance at des.nc.gov. The deadline to apply is October 10, 2021.

DUA is available in these counties for weeks of unemployment beginning Aug. 22, 2021, and may last for up to 29 weeks. Eligibility for DUA is determined weekly, and you must continue to be out of work as a direct result of the disaster each week to receive benefits. 

What is Disaster Unemployment Assistance?

If your employment has been lost or interrupted because of a federally declared disaster, you may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). 

DUA is a federal program that provides temporary payments for people who, as a direct result of a disaster:

  • No longer have a job.
  • Are unable to reach their place of unemployment. 
  • Cannot work because of an injury caused by the disaster.
  • Were unable to begin employment or self-employment due to the disaster.
  • Have become the major supplier of household income due to a disaster-related death of the previous major supplier of household income.

Am I eligible for DUA? 

Workers, self-employed individuals or business owners may be eligible for DUA if:

  • You lived, worked or were scheduled to work in an area declared a disaster area by the President of the United States; 
  • You lost employment or had your employment interrupted as a direct result of the disaster; and
  • You have exhausted or are not eligible for state unemployment benefits.

Eligibility for DUA is determined weekly. You must continue to be out of work as a direct result of the disaster each week to receive benefits. 

What do I need to apply?

  • Your Social Security number or your Alien Registration number.
  • The names and address of all employers you work for within the last 18 months, including those in other states.
  • If you’re self-employed, a farmer or a commercial fisher, proof of your employment and income. 

How do I apply?

When there is a federal disaster in North Carolina, the Division of Employment Security will announce the areas in which DUA benefits are available and deadlines for applying. 

The most efficient way to file a claim is to file online at des.nc.gov. If you need assistance, you may file over the phone by calling the Customer Call Center at 866-795-8877. 

  1. Go to the North Carolina Division of Employment Security website at des.nc.gov.
  2. Create an online account and sign in to file your claim.
  3. Click File a New Unemployment Insurance Claim. All claimants are required to first apply for state unemployment insurance benefits. If you are found ineligible for or you have exhausted state unemployment insurance benefits, you may file for DUA. 
  4. When filing for DUA, select ‘A federally-declared disaster’ when asked to give a reason for unemployment.
  5. If you are self-employed, a farmer or a commercial fisher, you must provide proof of employment and income within 21 days of filing your claim.
  6. Once your eligibility is determined, you will receive notification from DES.
  7. Remember, you must complete a Weekly Certification for every week you are filing for benefits to receive payments. If you earned any wages during the week, you must report them on your Weekly Certification.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance FAQs