Disaster unemployment assistance for those unemployed by flood

DENVER - The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced Friday  that a Major Disaster Declaration issued by the President on Sept. 14 makes individuals who have become unemployed because of the September flooding potentially eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

With this declaration, individuals in Adams, Boulder, Clear Creek, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer and Weld may now be eligible for temporary financial assistance to individuals, including farm workers and the self-employed who have lost their jobs because of a disaster and who do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits.

If individuals lost their jobs because of the flood and are eligible for regular UI, they should apply for those regular unemployment benefits.  DUA is available only to those individuals who wouldn’t otherwise be eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

These individuals will typically be self-employed individuals who don’t meet the “employment” qualifications (e.g., ranchers, farmers, in-home day care providers, etc.) or individuals who don’t have enough wage history but can prove that they were working or were scheduled to begin work on or after the date of the flood and now cannot perform that work any longer.

Claims can be filed at www.coloradoui.gov (click on “file a claim”).  Claims can be filed by phone at 303-318-9300 or toll-free at  1-800-388-5515.

In addition, the Department of Labor and Employment is announcing that individuals who are currently receiving unemployment benefits while living in the flooded areas will receive a waiver from their requirement to seek work beginning the week the flooding began in their area.  The start date for the flooding in the affected counties was September 11.  These individuals must continue requesting payment of unemployment benefits as they always have.  As long as the flood is the only circumstance that is preventing them from looking for work, they should report that they are able to work, available and looking for work.

Some claimants impacted by the flood may currently be receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation, federal benefits that go beyond the regular 26 weeks.  Individuals receiving EUC benefits must complete a series of reemployment services within six weeks.  However, for the immediate future, the Department of Labor and Employment is extending the amount of time in which those claimants must complete the services.

If eligible, unemployment benefits are normally available for up to 26 weeks beginning the week following the Presidential disaster declaration.  When able to return to employment or self-employment, benefits will stop.

Applications must be filed by Oct. 21 to be considered timely, unless the individual has good cause for late filing.

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