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Disaster Unemployment Assistance

The primary focus of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) after a disaster is to help South Carolinians who are out of work as a result of the disaster. We want to connect you with services and resources to help bridge the employment gap caused by the disaster.

What funds are available?
State unemployment insurance (UI) is the first line of defense if you are unemployed due to a disaster. If you are unemployed as a direct result of Hurricane Matthew, you must first file an application for UI benefits. If you are determined ineligible for state UI benefits, you may then file an application for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

DUA is a federal program that provides weekly payments to individuals who become unemployed because of a major disaster, but who are ineligible for state UI benefits.

When can I apply for these funds?

DUA funds are made available when the president declares a county a disaster area. Individuals have 30 calendar days from the date the availability of DUA benefits is announced to apply. Please note this might be different than other programs available for disasters. 

If you do not apply for DUA within this 30-day window, you will not be eligible to receive DUA funds.

Who is eligible to receive DUA?

You must meet one or more of these eligibility requirements for every week that you file a claim for DUA benefits:

  • You are unemployed as a direct result of Hurricane Matthew.
  • You were schedule to start working, but couldn't as a direct result of the hurricane.
  • You were unable to reach your job because you could not travel through an affected area.
  • You are now the major support for a household because of the death of the head of household due to the hurricane.
  • You are unable to work or perform services due to an injury caused as a result of Hurricane Matthew.
  • You are self-employed or a small business owner who lost income due to the disaster.


How do I apply for these funds?

DEW will notify each claimant of their eligibility for regular state UI benefits. DEW will directly contact claimants who are ineligible for regular state UI benefits to take an additional application for federal DUA benefits. An individual’s eligibility for DUA beneifts may be adversely affected if they do not apply for either state UI or federal DUA benefits within 30 calendar days of the date that the availability of DUA benefits in their county is announced.

Individuals must first file for regular state UI benefits. To do so:

  • Click here to visit the UI MyBenefits portal or call 1-866-831-1724.(Please note there might be a longer wait time due to high caller volume. We thank you for your patience as we work with each customer in the order in which the calls come in to the center.)
  • Complete all of the requested information on the website.
  • Note that when you come to the field labeled "Reason for Separation" select Hurricane Matthew.
  • DEW will notify you of your eligibility for regular state UI benefits.
  • If you are ineligible for UI benefits, a DEW representative will contact you directly to take your application for DUA benefits.

What information do I need to apply for DUA benefits?

Individuals should be prepared with the following information to assist the processing of an application:

  1. Their Social Security number (or their Alien Registration number, if applicable);
  2. Any check stubs or other proof of earnings for employment within the last 18 months;
  3. If the individual is self-employed, their most recent federal income tax returns and/or profit and loss statements.

You also will need to provide DEW with proof:

  1. That you were working or self-employed at the time of the hurricane; or, that you were scheduled to start work on immediately after the date of the disaster.
  2. Of your wages and/or income for the most recently completed tax year.

What happens after I file?

A DEW representative will review your claim to determine your eligibility for DUA benefits.

 
What if I am already receiving UI benefits?

You are not eligible for DUA benefits if you qualify for UI benefits. You may apply for DUA benefit if you exhaust your UI benefits and you are still unemployed as a direct result of the disaster.

What happens after I file?

A DEW representative will review your claim to determine your eligibility for DUA benefits.

 
What if I am already receiving UI benefits?

You are not eligible for DUA benefits if you qualify for UI benefits. You may apply for DUA benefit if you exhaust your UI benefits and you are still unemployed as a direct result of the disaster.

Resources

For more information about DUA or to see the detailed FAQs, click DUA FAQs .

For more information about Hurricane Matthew and recovery, visit South Carolina's Emergency Management Division's website here.

If you are an employer, click here to find out more about how DUA can help your employees or click here to find out more about our Rapid Response program.




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