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Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

The Disaster Unemployment Assistance program is under the authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Labor in cooperation with Iowa Workforce Development.

What Does the Program Provide?

Rain Cloud and Lightening DUA benefits are payable from the start of the disaster. Benefit payments are calculated by using your gross wages in the most recently completed tax year. If you were self-employed, the computation would use your wage income, if any, plus your net income shown on your income tax forms.

The minimum DUA weekly payment for self-employed workers is 50 percent of the average weekly payment of regular unemployment insurance in Iowa. For instance, if you are an unemployed self-employed worker who had low net income on your income tax forms for the most recently completed tax year, you would receive the minimum DUA weekly payment. A higher weekly payment may occur depending on your net business income. Iowa’s formula for regular unemployment insurance determines the weekly benefit amount. You must submit proof to substantiate your self-employed status, such as business records, bank statements, etc. A copy of the income tax form is required to issue a final DUA determination of the weekly benefit amount.

Who Is Eligible to Apply?

If you are unemployed as a direct result of the disaster, or if you were going to be employed in the disaster area at the time the disaster began, and your principal source of income and livelihood is dependent upon work that was affected by the disaster, then you may be eligible.

If you are eligible for or are currently receiving regular unemployment insurance benefit payments, then you are not also eligible for a DUA claim.

If you have been injured as a direct result of the disaster and cannot work, or if you have become the major support of your household because the head of the household died as a direct result of the disaster, then you may be eligible for benefits.

For all DUA applications, please remember you must first file a regular unemployment insurance claim or the DUA claim cannot be processed.  File a UI claim even if the DUA is for a farmer or other self-employed person.  Please put a note at the top of this form indicating you are filing due to the disaster.  Failure to complete this form in its entirety could result in delays to your claim.

Please copy the ENTIRE federal income tax form including any attached W-2's and schedules.  We must have the COMPLETE federal income tax form and W-2's in order to process the DUA application.  The ENTIRE federal income tax form and attachments must be included with the DUA application.

For farmers and others filing for DUA, the initial DUA form 102 which is the ETA 81 asks the claimant the following:  "my unemployment on _____ was a result of this disaster as follows:"  We need a detailed explanation of the at least three sentences explaining in detail what farming activities they were not able to do and exactly what conditions stopped them from their normal activities.  This response should be detailed; you can write on the back of the form or attach additional paper to complete the answer.

How Do I Apply For DUA Benefits?
  1. Select one of the following categories which best describes your circumstance.  Print and complete the DUA forms for that category:

  2. Photocopy your complete 2010 Federal income tax return, including all schedules and W-2 forms.

  3. Return completed forms and complete copy of your 2010 Federal income tax return to your nearest local IowaWORKS Center or mail to:

  4. Iowa Workforce Development
    Attn:  UISC – DUA Unit
    PO Box 10332
    Des Moines, IA  50306-0332

    How Do I Claim Benefits?

    Once your DUA claim is established, it is very easy to claim a week of benefits. Each week you will need to complete and submit on of the Weekly Request for Disaster Unemployment Assistance forms, Form ETA 83.  Information should be filled out for the Sunday through Saturday of the week you are trying to claim (Example:  If you are filing effective 5/29/11, the first week you would need to report is for 5/29/11 - 6/4/11).

    When Can I File for DUA?

    The President of the United States must first declare an area to be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. There is then a 30-day timeframe you have to apply for those benefits. After that timeframe has passed, you must establish ‘good cause’ for filing late.

    "Good Cause" is defined as good reason, justification or excuse of a substantial nature which a reasonable prudent person would find as adequate in the prudent conduct of their affairs.

    Examples of "good cause":

    1. The applicant was working.
    2. Applicant was injured or ill as a result of the disaster and could not file. This reason should be supported by a doctor's statement.
    3. Applicant had lost his/her transportation as direct result of the disaster and could not get to a local office to file an application.
    4. Applicant was eligible for regular UI benefits and exhausted benefits during the week ending September 19, 2010 or after and thus could not file their DUA claim prior to the cut-off date.
    5. Agency staff misinformed individual (with proof, such as: statement signed by UI staff person) or inability of staff to serve customers.
    6. Death of a bread winner due to disaster.
    7. Working in flood or storm clean-up is "good cause" for late filing.
    8. Extenuating circumstances such as lack of information in normal media channels, such as television, newspaper, agricultural magazines, and information from neighbors and friends.

    UNACCEPTABLE reasons for filing late:

    Applicant alleges that he/she was not aware of the availability of DUA during the 30 day filing period.

    What Are the Restrictions?

    Benefits will end if you return to suitable work, or if you refuse a bona fide offer of suitable work, or refuse to accept a referral to suitable employment without good cause.

    Since your eligibility is determined on a week-to-week basis, your unemployed status must continue to be a direct result of the disaster in order to continue to receive DUA benefits. If you are only partially employed and work for wages, you must report your gross wages. This is the same as individuals receiving regular unemployment insurance. Once your unemployment is no longer attributable to the disaster, your DUA entitlement ends.

    If you are self-employed, you are no longer eligible for DUA as soon as you are able to resume your normal self-employment work activities. However, if your self-employment activity is still substantially reduced, you may continue to receive DUA benefits. You must report your gross earnings from self-employment when actually paid. For example, you report you performed self-employment work during the week you perform the work, but report zero earnings unless you are actually paid during that week.

    For some occupations there are seasonal limitations to the periods for which DUA is paid. DUA may only be paid to seasonal workers for those weeks they would have been employed in the season. 


    If you have any questions about the DUA program or completing the DUA forms, contact an IowaWORKS Center


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