By Scott Maxfield
Updated Oct. 19, 2022
The effects of Hurricane Ian have been devastating across many parts of the Southeast, especially in Florida. Countless residents and businesses have been displaced or disrupted by this disaster, and many will now receive assistance during their recovery.
Because some counties were officially declared disaster areas, DUA (Disaster Unemployment Assistance) funding has been made available to help. DUA is a partnering program between the U.S. Department of Labor and FEMA that helps state UI (Unemployment Insurance) agencies provide unemployment assistance to individuals affected by natural disasters. It applies to the following counties in Florida as of October 19, 2022: Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, and Volusia.
Individuals are required to have lost employment as a result of the hurricane and they cannot be eligible for regular UI benefits. They are eligible if they lived, worked, or were scheduled to work in the affected areas, and:
No longer have a job or place to work; or
Cannot reach the place of work; or
Cannot work as the result of damage to the place of work; or
Cannot work due to injury sustained in the disaster
Became the breadwinner or major supporter of a household due to the death of head of household resulting from the disaster
Individuals who want to file a claim can do so through Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) at http://floridajobs.org/, by visiting a local CareerSource Career Center, or by calling 800/385-3920 Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern time. The deadline to file is December 30, 2022.
As an employer, you should be aware how you may be impacted by these filings. If a claim is processed as a DUA, then you or your unemployment provider will not play a role in that process. It is outside of the normal claim procedures you currently have in place for normal separations and your employer account will not be charged.
For our unemployment clients, we will be on the lookout for claims that could be more appropriately filed under DUA. If it is determined they are eligible under that program, we will help protest those claims in order to help prevent the charges from hitting the employer’s account.
Contact us if you would like to learn more about how Equifax can help you reduce the burden of unemployment cost management.
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