Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Benefits available to people who lost their job or business due to December 18 storm Bookmark and Share

February 1, 2024

For Immediate Release: February 1, 2024

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Benefits available to people who lost their job or business due to December 18 storm

Applications are open through March 4 to assist business owners, regular workers, seasonal or migrant workers, and self-employed individuals who lost their job, job offer, or had their work hours reduced or interrupted due to the December 18 storm in Androscoggin, Kennebec, Oxford, Somerset, and Franklin counties.

AUGUSTA - On January 31, 2024, President Biden approved Governor Mills' request for a major disaster declaration for Maine as it recovers from the storm on December 18, 2023. This declaration allows the Maine Department of Labor's Bureau of Unemployment Compensation to provide temporary financial assistance to people whose employment or self-employment was impacted by the December 18, 2023 storm in the following counties:

  • Androscoggin County
  • Kennebec County
  • Oxford County
  • Somerset County
  • Franklin County

Note: This is for the December 18, 2023 storm only, not the subsequent storms in January 2024. However, anyone who is out of work due to the effects of any storm, even temporarily, is encouraged to apply for regular state unemployment insurance. Unemployment claims can be filed online 24/7 at https://reemployme.maine.gov/ .

Funding will be available for eligible applicants who apply within 30 days of the declaration of a major disaster, until March 4, 2024, to assist eligible workers, business owners, and self-employed individuals who lost their jobs, job offers, or businesses, or had their work hours reduced or interrupted due to impacts brought about by the December 18 storm.

The Maine Department of Labor will accept applications for 30 days, starting at 7 a.m. on February 2, 2024. Individuals may be eligible if they do not qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) and they live in, work in, were scheduled to work in, or were scheduled to travel through an area affected by the December 18 storm and lost their employment or self-employment directly due to the disaster.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) applies to losses for eligible people impacted by the December 18 storm with the first payable week of Disaster Unemployment Assistance for the week starting on December 24, 2023, and ending on December 30, 2023. Unemployment benefits start the first full week after the disaster. Claims can be filed for the weeks beginning December 24, 2023.

Full-time workers, part-time workers, and self-employed part-time individuals can be eligible for benefits. The last payable week of this emergency benefit ends August 3, 2024 as long as their unemployment or self-employment continues as a result of the disaster. Eligibility for DUA benefits will be determined on a week-to-week basis for each week they file their claim.

Who might be eligible:

An individual might be eligible for DUA benefits if they are a business owner, a self-employed person, a regular worker, or a seasonal or migrant worker who lost their job, job offer, or had their work hours reduced due to the storm on December 18, 2023.

To be eligible for DUA, a person cant be eligible for regular unemployment benefits in any state. When they apply, they must be able to work, ready and willing to accept work, and have the time and means to work, unless they suffered injuries directly linked to the disaster. Additionally, they must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • They cant work or they are working reduced hours because the disaster damaged or destroyed their workplace
  • They cant return, resume, or start their employment or self-employment because of the disaster
  • They cant work due to injuries caused as a direct result of the disaster
  • They can't get to their job due to the impact of the disaster in one of the affected areas. This also applies if they reside in a major disaster area but are unable to reach their place of employment or self-employment outside the disaster area
  • They became the primary support of their family because of the death of the head of the household as a result of the disaster

How to apply:

Beginning at 7 a.m. Friday, February 2, individuals can apply for DUA benefits at https://assist.reemployme.maine.gov/ or by phone at 1-800-593-7660. Beginning February 2, 2024, the call center will be available Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. To be considered, they need to submit their application by March 4, 2024.

They will first have to complete the regular state unemployment form to determine eligibility for UI benefits or DUA benefits.

What information is needed:

To complete the application, an individual will need to provide their Social Security Number (SSN), and the name, address, and dates of employment of all their employers for the past two years, including out-of-state employers.

They will need to provide all supporting evidence no more than 21 days after the application has been filed. The documents they need to provide might vary depending on their circumstances and previous employers but could include proof of identity, their most recent federal income tax form, and other documents proving that they were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred. If they need to submit proof of income for the past year, they can submit those documents after the 21 days deadline but no later than the end of the disaster assistance period. However, delays in submitting their documents can impact their benefits and overall processing times.

Visit https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/dua/ for more information about Disaster Unemployment Assistance and how to apply. Individuals can also contact the Department at 1-800-593-7660.

To learn about all the federal assistance programs you and your family might qualify for, we recommend contacting FEMAs helpline at 1-800-621-3362.

Reemployment services are available at https://www.mainecareercenter.gov