SAN JUAN, PR -- Residents who are unemployed as a direct result of the recent flooding and devastation caused by Hurricane Irene may be eligible for weekly benefit payments under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program, state and federal officials announced today.
"This program is designed to help those whose employment was interrupted by the disaster," said Justo Hernández, FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer. "It will help them make ends meet until they can get back to work."
The federal disaster declaration signed by President Obama on August 27, 2011, extends the DUA program to those living or working in any of the 18 municipalities eligible for Individual Assistance. The deadline to apply for DUA for the municipalities of: Caguas, Canóvanas, Carolina, Cayey, Loíza, Luquillo and San Juan is October 3, 2011. Residents in the municipalities of Arroyo, Coamo, Humacao, Jayuya, Patillas, Ponce, Aguas Buenas, Cidra, Comerío, Juncos and Orocovis, which were added later to the disaster declaration, may apply until October 10, 2011.
"The DUA program extends coverage to self-employed people, farm workers and others who have lost employment as a direct result of the disaster," said Juan Carlos Pavía, Governor's Authorized Representative. "It is specifically designed to assist those who are otherwise ineligible for state unemployment benefits."
Any person who worked or resides in these municipalities and is unemployed as a result of this disaster should go to the nearest, local Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources office or call 787-945-7900, Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. Bring documents that may verify or confirm the revenues or wages you could have received if the disaster had not occurred. If you run your own business, you must bring a copy of your Income Tax return for 2010.
You may be eligible to apply for DUA if:
- You were injured in the disaster and are unable to work, whether you are an employee or self-employed.
- Your workplace was damaged or destroyed.
- Your transportation to work is not available.
- You cannot get to your job because you must travel through the affected area.
- You were scheduled to begin work, but could not because of the disaster.
- You derived most of your income from areas affected by the hurricane and your business is down as a direct result of the disaster.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.