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Disaster Unemployment Insurance Available for Earthquake Survivors

Release date: 
January 31, 2020
Release Number: 
DR-4473-PR NR-09

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico – Individuals who lost their jobs because of the earthquakes in southwest Puerto Rico and live or work in any of the 16 municipalities FEMA approved for assistance may be eligible to receive unemployment funds.

The earthquakes that began Dec. 28, 2019, affected the municipalities of Adjuntas, Cabo Rojo, Corozal, Guánica, Guayanilla, Jayuya, Lajas, Lares, Maricao, Peñuelas, Ponce, San Germán, San Sebastián, Utuado, Villalba and Yauco.

The Disaster Unemployment Assistance program is funded by FEMA, overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor and managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources. It is intended for employees or self-employed individuals who lost their jobs as a direct result of the earthquakes.

To be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, individuals must:

  • Not be eligible for regular unemployment insurance.
  • Be unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of the major disaster.
  • Be able and available for work, unless injured as a direct result of the disaster.
  • File an application for unemployment funding within 30 days of the date of the announcement of the availability of Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
  • Have not refused an offer of employment in a suitable position.

To ensure eligibility, visit your local unemployment office, call the Puerto Rico Department of Labor at 787-945-7900. The Puerto Rico Department of Labor will notify claimants if they are eligible to file for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

The deadline to file for Disaster Unemployment Assistance is Feb. 28, 2020.

If you are eligible, you may file a claim for benefits at the Puerto Rico Department of Labor’s Bureau of Employment Security near your home or at the nearest American Job Center, which can process claims from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Interstate claims may also be filed by phone at 787-945-7900, 787-395-7328 or 787-945-7898.

Survivors may also search for employment opportunities through the American Job Center by visiting

For more information on Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery, visit the Government of Puerto Rico,, and Facebook:



FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 711 for Video Relay Service. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish.) TTY call 800-462-7585.

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Last Updated: 
January 31, 2020 - 16:36