FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2023
Contact: Rachel Dumeny
Communications and Outreach Coordinator
Vermont Department of Labor
U.S. Department of Labor Approves Disaster Unemployment Assistance Benefits for Vermonters in Designated Disaster Areas
Montpelier, Vt. – The Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL) announced today that federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits will be available to Vermonters left without work due to the severe flooding that occurred in Vermont beginning on July 7, 2023.
“Vermonters across the State have found their daily lives impacted by this disaster, including their financial stability,” said Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington. “Our immediate priority is to ensure that individuals whose employment has been impacted by the flooding can access the benefits they desperately need.”
The Biden Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) have declared Chittenden, Lamoille, Rutland, Washington, Windham, and Windsor Counties as initial federal disaster areas. Under this declaration, individuals living, working, or scheduled to work in these counties may be eligible for DUA. This includes independent contractors, those who are self-employed, and agricultural workers. Governor Scott’s Disaster Declaration request covered all 14 counties; however, only the six listed above are currently eligible for DUA. When or if more counties are identified, the Department of Labor will issue additional press releases.
Individuals seeking assistance through the DUA program must first file for regular unemployment benefits. As part of the application process, claimants should indicate that their employment was impacted by the disaster. The Department of Labor will determine if the claimant is eligible for regular unemployment first, as required by FEMA. If the claimant is deemed ineligible for regular unemployment insurance, the applicant will be provided with the DUA application. Eligible Vermonters can collect benefits for the weeks during which they meet the necessary program criteria.
Under the DUA program guidance, individuals in the initial counties listed above have until August 21, 2023 to file a claim. If additional counties are added to the disaster declaration, a new press release will be issued with a revised deadline to file. The first payable benefit week has been identified as July 9 – 15, 2023.
Examples of eligible DUA claims may include:
The claimant was injured in the disaster and is unable to work, whether they are an employee or self-employed;
The claimant’s workplace was damaged, destroyed, or not in operation as a result of the disaster;
The claimant’s transportation to work is not available as a direct result of the disaster;
The claimant cannot get to their job because they must travel through an impacted area and are unable to do so as a direct result of the disaster;
The claimant was about to begin working, but the job no longer exists as a direct result of the disaster;
Most of the claimant’s income comes from areas affected by the disaster, whether they work for themselves or an employer, and their business is adversely impacted as a direct result of the disaster.
Individuals interested in Disaster Unemployment Assistance can find more information online at https://labor.vermont.gov/dua or by calling the UI Claimant Assistance Center at 1-877-214-3330. This page also includes information about language access.
This press release and the DUA webpage were reviewed by Readable.com for plain language accessibility.