Jack Walker Published

Workers Affected By April Storms Now Eligible For Unemployment Benefits

A sign on a door reads "WorkForce West Virginia," with its hours of operation listed below. The door is placed within a brick building facade.
WorkForce West Virginia has offices across the state, including its Martinsburg location pictured here.
Jack Walker/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program is now accepting applications from residents whose employment was affected by the storms, mudslides and tornadoes that struck the state in April.

The DUA program provides unemployment benefits to individuals whose jobs are “lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster,” according to WorkForce West Virginia, the state labor agency that administers the program.

DUA benefits are made available when a natural disaster is declared a major disaster by the president of the United States.

President Joe Biden approved a FEMA major disaster declaration last week, opening the state to the program’s benefits.

Residents living or working in Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln, Marshall, Nicholas, Ohio, Putnam, Wayne or Wetzel counties — designated disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — can apply for the benefits.

Individuals who can qualify for the program include those unable to commute to work due to the disaster; those who were unable to start a new work position; those with a financially supportive household member who died due to the disaster; and those who were injured due to the extreme weather incidents.

DUA benefits are also available to self-employed workers and farmers, who are not typically eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, according to WorkForce West Virginia. These individuals must submit proof of past earnings within three weeks of their application to qualify.

The deadline to submit DUA claims over the April disaster is July 22. To apply for the benefits, residents must contact WorkForce West Virginia via email at ucpolicy@wv.gov or over the phone at 304-558-3340 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Residents who suffered property damage during the April storms might also be eligible for financial assistance through FEMA. For more information, see West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s previous reporting.