During the second half of 2017, numerous devastating disasters have wracked many parts of the United States. From the hurricane-related destruction in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgins Islands to the wildfires in Oregon and northern California, countless people have had their lives and homes ruined.
Even if you do not lose your home in a natural disaster or fire, these tragedies can affect your life in other significant ways. For instance, your home may be safe, but your place of work may get severely damaged or destroyed. For this or other reasons, you may not be able to work after a disaster, which can only compound any issues you are already facing.
It is important to know your rights if you are unemployed as a result of a disaster. Each state has its own laws and systems regarding unemployment benefits—including disaster benefits. The following is a look at your rights should you be unemployed due to a disaster in Missouri.
Qualifying for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
The first major requirement to receive DUA is that the President declares that a disaster occurred, which authorizes the use of DUA funds. Such disasters can include tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, snow or ice storms, droughts, floods, or even a natural gas explosions. If any of the following occur because of such a declared disaster, you may qualify for DUA benefits:
- You cannot reach your employer
- You have been unable to work for at least a week after the event
- You were about to start a job and are now unable to do so because of the disaster
- The head of your household died in the disaster and you are now the primary earner
- The disaster caused an injury that prevents you from working
If one of the above describes your situation, you must then meet the following criteria:
- You do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits
- The disaster was the direct cause of your unemployment
- Aside from disaster-related injuries, you are available to work should work become available
- You have not refused another offer of suitable work
If you meet the above requirements, you must apply for DUA benefits within the 30 days following the disaster declaration. You will have to prove any pre-disaster employment or offer of employment.
It is important to know that these benefits can be terminated if you become employed, if you refused a suitable job, or if you are unable to work (for reasons other than a disaster-related injury).
Discuss Your Situation With an Experienced Unemployment Lawyer Today
Disasters can happen anywhere in the United States, and all people should know their rights if they become unemployed as a result of a devastating incident. Have a skilled unemployment lawyer help you receive the benefits you deserve in this type of situation. If you have questions about any type of unemployment, please call the Law Office of Kenneth Carp at (636) 947-3600 or write us through our website to schedule a consultation today.