As a result of the recent hurricane Harvey you may be eligible for benefits if you lost your job, were self-employed or you are no longer able to work as a direct result of the disaster. You can apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) online using the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) website or call their Tele-Center 1-800-939-6631.
Applying for Disaster Unemployment Assistance
You may be eligible* for assistance if one of the following applies to your situation:
- You lost your job, which was more than 50% of your income;
- You live in, work in or travel through the disaster area;
- Your place of employment was damaged or closed;
- You were scheduled to start a new job but the job no longer exists or you are unable to reach the jobsite;
- You suffered injury or were incapacitated;
- You became the breadwinner or major source of income for your household due to the death of the head of the household.
[eligibility requirements taken from the Texas Workforce Commission website]
It is important to note that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and DUA regulations dictate when a disaster begins and ends. Disaster Assistance is available from the first Sunday after a disaster is declared. Hurricane Harvey was declared a disaster on August 25th, 2017. For seasonal workers assistance is only available for the days they would have worked had the disaster not occurred.
What you must do after applying
There are a few important steps that must be taken after you apply:
- Register for work search at WorkinTexas or with your local Workforce Solutions center within 3 days of applying for DUA. If you were self-employed at the time of the disaster and you are taking steps to re-open business you do not have to register, however if you do not plan to re-open business you do have to register.
- Send proof of your employment and that it was affected by the disaster. This must be done within 21 days of applying for DUA.
- Take steps to find employment. The TWC may exempt some people from this requirement if you have a return to work date within 12 weeks, if the disaster was so severe in your area that businesses cannot operate or if you are self-employed working on re-opening your business.
- Fill out and return the Payment Request form that TWC mailed to you after registration. TWC reviews these requests on a week-by-week basis.
- Make sure TWC has your current mailing address and if you cannot receive mail or had to find a temporary place to live provide that address or the address of a relative or friend. Use the care-of c/o designation on your mailing address if it is someone else’s address.
Documents to Use for Proof of Employment
In order to receive DUA you have to have legitimate proof of employment. Some forms of proof are:
- Recent pay stub or earnings statement;
- Signed written statement from your employer or;
- Notarized statement from one of your co-workers
If you are self-employed forms of proof include:
- Recent tax documents such as income tax form 1040;
- Schedule C, F or SE from last year’s federal income tax return;
- Evidence of ongoing business such as recent utility bills, bank statements, insurance bill, sales tax returns, property titles or deeds for the business.