For Release:
November 7, 2016

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available as a Result of Hurricane Matthew

Contact: Deborah Thacker, Virginia Employment Commission, (804) 786-1883

People unable to work because of the severe storms and flooding in Hampton Roads Virginia during the period October 7, 2016, and thereafter as a result of the remnants of Hurricane Matthew may be eligible for disaster unemployment assistance.

The independent cities of Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach have been declared disaster areas.

Self-employed and unemployed workers that live or work in the designated disaster areas who are not covered by regular state unemployment insurance programs may be eligible for this assistance under the major disaster declaration by President Obama on November 2, 2016.  Under this program, benefits of up to $378 per week may be paid to eligible individuals until they are able to return to work.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) covers those who:

  • Do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits from any state;
  • Are unable to work because their place of employment was put out of operation or they were unable to travel to their workplace due to the effects of the flood damage;
  • Are self-employed, but are prevented from working due to the effects of the flood damage;
  • Can establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their principle source of income;
  • Have become the breadwinner or major support of a household because the head of the household died as a result of the disaster; or
  • Cannot work because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster.

Anyone interested in filing for DUA should call the Virginia Employment Commission’s Customer Contact Center at 1-866-832-2363 on or before the filing deadline of December 8, 2016.  Applicants should have their Social Security number, check stubs, and documentation to support the claim they were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred.  In some cases, additional documentation may be required.  To receive DUS benefits, all required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the date the DUA application is filed.

For further information, contact Deborah Thacker at the VEC at (804) 786-1883 or FEMA at (800) 621-3362 or (800) 462-7585.