U.S. Department of Labor Extends Disaster Unemployment Assistance Eligibility for Jobless in Hurricane Rita-Affected Region

The U.S. Department of Labor today extended through November 30 the time allowed for persons rendered jobless by Hurricane Rita to file for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). The department also lengthened to 90 days the paperwork requirements needed to support an initial DUA application.


“We know that many survivors of Hurricane Rita are trying to sort out their lives.  This action extends the timeline for applying for DUA and also gives people more time to prepare their applications for DUA benefits.  We want to help survivors get the assistance they need as quickly as possible with minimal stress during this very challenging period in their lives,” said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.


Under normal procedures, applicants must file for DUA benefits within 30 days and are allowed 21 days from the application date to submit the required supporting documents. The extension was made because citizens may not have immediate access to the appropriate documentation necessary and may have to rely on others to provide the documentation.


"Recovery for many hurricane survivors starts with us getting some form of income to them as quickly as possible," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco.  "So that Gulf coast residents affected by Rita can move ahead in sorting out their lives, we are going to give them a break from first having to sort through paperwork that may have been lost in the hurricane."


Officials representing the hurricane-impacted states of Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are being asked to notify both future applicants and those who have applied but were unable to supply documentation.  Officials in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were previously advised of similar DUA extensions covering their workers.