Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits filing deadline extended for those impacted by widespread California fires

SACRAMENTO – Californians impacted by wildfires that started in August, in several California counties, now have an extended deadline of November 30, 2020, to file for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). The California Employment Development Department (EDD) administers these benefits which are available to workers, business owners, and self-employed individuals who lost their jobs or businesses, or had their work hours reduced due to the ongoing wildfires.

Additionally, FEMA has determined that individuals in Butte and Santa Clara counties are now eligible to apply for these DUA benefits if their loss of work or self-employment was a direct result of the fires, and they do not qualify for regular state unemployment insurance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), FED-ED extensions, or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits.

“A filing extension for these benefits provides California workers and employers who have been impacted by these fires more time to seek the help they need,” said EDD Director Sharon Hilliard. “Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides crucial support to the victims of these fires, helping them recover some of the income they lost due to these devastating blazes.”

DUA benefits are now available to those impacted by the wildfires that began in August in the following California counties:

Butte Lake Monterey Napa San Mateo
Santa Clara Santa Cruz Solano Sonoma Yolo

DUA applies to losses beginning the week of August 16, 2020, and individuals can receive up to $450 a week in benefits for a maximum period of 27 weeks.

These DUA benefits are offered to victims of a disaster and are available to individuals who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Worked or were a business owner or self-employed, or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment, in the disaster area. This includes, but is not limited to, those in the agricultural and fishing industries.
  • 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 do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits and remain unemployed as a direct result of the disaster.

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 other documentation to support that the individuals were working or self- employed when the disaster occurred. Documentation for the self-employed can be obtained from banks, government entities, or affidavits from individuals having knowledge of their business.

The fastest and easiest way for new claimants to apply for DUA is to use EDD’s UI Online application, which is available in both English and Spanish.

Claimants can also apply 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

EDD’s Disaster-Related Services webpage includes more information for individuals and businesses impacted by disasters, including tax filing extensions for affected employers. EDD also encourages individuals to visit the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services wildfire recovery website for information on Local

Assistance Centers where individuals, families and businesses can access disaster assistance programs and services.

In addition, job seekers can find the America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM location nearest them (currently appointment-only due to the ongoing pandemic) for access to job-search resources, job postings and training programs, as well as assistance with exploring career options, résumé and application preparation, career development and more. Job seekers also may connect with potential employers through CalJOBSSM, EDD’s online job-search system.

The EDD administers the federal disaster-benefits program in California for the

U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, on behalf of the Emergency Management Agency.

 

Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017, the 2017 October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) wildfires, the Camp Fire in 2018, the 2020 statewide fire siege, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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