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Unemployment Benefits for Disaster Victims

Release date: 
July 30, 2007
Release Number: 

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Oklahomans who lost their jobs because of recent severe storms, tornadoes and flooding may be eligible to receive unemployment compensation.

Residents of Ottawa and Washington counties have until Aug. 8, 2007, to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). Residents of Comanche, Nowata and Pottawatomie counties have until Aug. 15, 2007, to apply.

The benefits, which also extend to self-employed persons, are funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in a program administered by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. The program is available to unemployed U.S. nationals, tribal members, and qualified aliens who meet the following criteria:

  • Worked or were self-employed in, or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment in, a county declared as a federal disaster area (Ottawa, Washington, Comanche, Nowata and Pottawatomie counties);
  • Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of a disaster;
  • Establish that the work or self-employment that they can no longer perform was their primary source of income;
  • Do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits from any state;
  • Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury or incapacity that is a direct result of the disaster;
  • Became the breadwinner or major supporter of a household because of the death of the head of the household;
  • Cannot work or perform self-employment due to closure of a facility by the federal government; and
  • Lost a majority of income or revenue because the place of employment or self-employed business was damaged, destroyed, or closed by the federal government.

To file for DUA, an individual must first establish a regular state unemployment claim. Individuals calling within the Oklahoma City metropolitan area can dial 405-525-1500 to establish a claim and start the DUA process. Those outside of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area should call 1-800-555-1554.

Persons in the declared counties who had to evacuate should make sure the U.S. Postal Service has their current address. Change of address requests can be submitted online at After changing an address, contact FEMA to update applicant files online or by phone 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:34