NC DESBy Leslie Lasher

Late last week, the North Carolina Division of Employment Security (DES), announced that workers, self-employed individuals and some business owners qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) in the wake of Hurricane Matthew’s devastation in the eastern part of the state.

DES has announced that the following counties are approved for DUA:  Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wayne, and Wilson. The deadline to apply for DUA is 30 business days from the date the counties were approved for inclusion in the program, which is November 14, 2016.

In order to assist North Carolina citizens that have suffered losses and are likely to suffer imminent further widespread losses due to continued flooding, the enforcement of the program’s normal one-week waiting period has been waived.  In addition, job search requirements for individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of the hurricane have also been waived.

Business owners and individual workers must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the DUA benefits:

  • Individuals who are unemployed due to the disaster, and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Self-employed individuals and small business owners who lost income due to the disaster.
  • Individuals who were prevented from working due to an injury caused by the disaster.
  • Individuals who have become the major supplier of household income due to the disaster-related death or injury of the previous major supplier of household income.
  • Individuals who are unable to reach their job or self-employment location because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster.
  • Individuals who were to commence employment or self-employment but were prevented from doing so by the disaster.

DUA is a federally-funded program administered at local level. Individuals need to file first for regular unemployment insurance. If an individual is determined ineligible for regular unemployment insurance, or has exhausted his or her regular unemployment insurance benefits, a DUA claim can then be filed.

Here are the necessary documents required for DUA benefits approval:

  • Social Security number
  • Copies of their most recent federal income tax forms or check stubs
  • Documentation to support they were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred

To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the day an individual files an application. DUA is available for weeks of employment beginning with the week starting October 9, 2016, and lasting for up to 26 weeks, as long as the person’s unemployment continues to be as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

Individuals may contact DES by calling 1-866-795-8877 from 8AM to 5PM, emailing, or contacting via the agency’s website at