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Disaster Unemployment Assistance Deadline Extended for Californians Affected by Recent Wildfires

Posted on November 19, 2017

Employment Development Department

SACRAMENTO – The Employment Development Department (EDD) today announced that individuals whose jobs were affected by the October wildfires now have until December 18, 2017, to file for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). The previous deadline was November 16.

“We encourage anyone whose employment was affected by the devastating wildfires to apply for unemployment assistance as soon as possible,” said EDD Director Patrick W. Henning. “These benefits provide financial support in a time of need.”

As announced by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on October 17, DUA provides temporary unemployment benefits to jobless workers and self-employed people whose jobs or work hour losses are a direct result of the fires.

The EDD will first check to see if applicants can qualify for regular state unemployment benefits, and if not, process the claim for federal disaster benefits. Business owners or self-employed individuals who are ineligible for state unemployment benefits may qualify for DUA. Those whose unemployment benefits have run out, but are still unemployed due to the disaster, may also file a claim for DUA.

DUA applies to losses beginning the week of October 15, 2017, for qualifying individuals in Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sonoma, and Yuba counties. Eligible workers can receive benefits of up to $450 a week for a maximum period of 26 weeks.

Workers who are potentially eligible for DUA benefits meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Worked or were self-employed, or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment, in the disaster area.
  • Cannot reach work because of the disaster or can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster.
  • Can establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their primary source of income.
  • Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster.
  • Became the head of their households because of a death caused by the disaster.
  • Have applied for and used all regular unemployment benefits from any state, or who do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

President Trump’s federal disaster declaration of October 10, 2017, opened the way for DUA benefits.

To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the day the DUA application is filed. Required documentation includes a Social Security number and a copy of the most recent federal income tax form or check stubs, or documentation to support that the individuals were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred. Such documentation for the self-employed can be obtained from banks or government entities, or affidavits from individuals having knowledge of their business.

The fastest and easiest way for people to apply for DUA is to use EDD’s online application, “eApply4UI”, which is available in both English and Spanish.

Claimants also can file for DUA by phone between 8 a.m. and 12 noon, Monday through Friday:

  • English: 1-800-300-5616
  • Spanish: 1-800-326-8937
  • Chinese (Cantonese): 1-800-547-3506
  • Chinese (Mandarin): 1-866-303-0706
  • Vietnamese: 1-800-547-2058

The EDD administers the federal disaster-benefits program in California for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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