PONCE, Puerto Rico – Residents who lost their jobs because of the earthquakes and live or work in any of the 33 municipalities FEMA approved for assistance have an extension of time to file for unemployment benefits. Those who were self-employed also have more time to file for unemployment benefits.
The deadline to file for Disaster Unemployment Assistance for the Puerto Rico earthquakes has been extended to June 30, 2020.
The municipalities eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance as a result of the earthquakes are:
Adjuntas, Aguada, Añasco, Arecibo, Barceloneta, Cabo Rojo, Ciales, Coamo, Corozal, Guánica, Guayanilla, Hormigueros, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Lajas, Lares, Las Marías, Maricao, Mayagüez, Moca, Morovis, Naranjito, Orocovis, Peñuelas, Ponce, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San Germán, San Sebastián, Santa Isabel, Utuado, Villalba and Yauco.
This assistance is for those who were employed or self-employed and lost their jobs as a direct result of the disaster.
To be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, the applicant:
- Must have applied for regular unemployment insurance benefits and obtained a determination of ineligibility;
- Be unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of the earthquakes;
- Be available for work, unless he or she has suffered an injury as a direct result of the earthquakes;
- Must not have declined a reasonable offer of employment.
In addition, unemployed persons, including the self-employed, who were living or working within the areas affected by the recent earthquakes, and who are now unemployed as a result of the major disaster, may be eligible for this assistance, if:
- They have applied for and exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits (from any state in the United States) or do not qualify for unemployment insurance benefits;
- They are unable to work or provide services due to physical damage or destruction of the workplace as a direct result of the earthquakes;
- They are unable to reach their places of employment or self-employment, as they would have to travel through the earthquake-affected area, and are unable to reach their place of work because of the disaster;
- They were going to start working for someone else or be self-employed, but they couldn't start because of the earthquakes;
- They have become the main economic provider for their family due to the death of the previous head of household, which was caused by the earthquakes; or
- They are unable to work or perform self-employment functions due to injuries caused by the earthquakes.
You can file a claim with the Puerto Rico Department of Labor by calling 787-945-7900 or
787-395-7328 until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. In addition, those who were affected by the earthquakes but are not currently living on the island can file by calling 787-945-7898.
All documentation must be submitted within 21 days of your initial filing. Visit https://www.trabajo.pr.gov/ for the required forms.
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.
For more information on Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery, visit the Government of Puerto Rico, www.fema.gov/disaster/4473 and Facebook: www.facebook.com/femapuertorico.
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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