Disaster Unemployment now available in impacted Eastern Kentucky counties

Someone completing an unemployment benefits form.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is now available to individuals in counties impacted by the historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky. 

Disaster Unemployment Assistance, or DUA, is a federal program that provides temporary unemployment benefits to individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular state unemployment benefits. Individuals in the following counties are eligible to apply: Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry, and Pike. The Governor’s Office has stated that more counties may be added.

The deadline to apply for benefits is September 3, 2022. Claimants in the eligible counties listed above must show that their employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a direct result of the flooding that began July 26 and that they are not otherwise eligible for regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits under state or federal law. 

DUA benefits are generally provided for up to 26 weeks, starting with the first full week following the date of when the disaster was formally declared and ending 26 weeks later. The program is federally funded, though states partner with federal agencies to administer it. 

More information and steps to apply for DUA can be found here.

DUA was also made available to individuals in Western Kentucky after the disaster caused by tornadoes in December 2021. 

During the 2022 legislative session, lawmakers passed House Bill 4, which implemented several reforms to the state’s unemployment insurance laws. The bill aims to encourage faster re-employment for laid-off workers, support upskilling and retraining, and stabilize the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. House Bill 4 goes into effect in January 2023. The bill would not affect access to Disaster Unemployment Assistance for eligible Kentuckians or change the basic rules of the program. 

About the Author

Charles Aull
Senior Policy Analyst at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

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