In A Flash

Applications for disaster unemployment assistance being accepted in Louisiana

By: - June 4, 2021 5:19 pm
Gov. Edwards will likely approve early end to unemployment supplement

Residents ask for an increase in state unemployment benefits during a rally at the Louisiana Capitol.

As a result of President Joe Biden’s disaster declaration for the mid-May storms in Louisiana, the state Workforce Commission is offering disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) available to businesses and residents.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission is accepting applications for DUA until the deadline of July 6 from individuals and businesses in the parishes of Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, and Lafayette whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a direct result of the storms, tornadoes and flooding that occurred May 17 to May 21.

DUA is available to those who:

  • Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment; and
  • Do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Extended Benefits (EB) from any state; and
  • Were unable to reach their job or self-employment location because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster; or
  • Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster; or
  • Can not physically access the place of employment due to its closure by the federal, state, or local government in immediate response to the disaster; or
  • Can establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their principal source of income; or
  • Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster; or
  • Became the breadwinner or major supporter of a household because of the death of the head of household.

According to the Workforce Commission, disaster unemployment applications filed after the deadline may be denied unless the individual provides good cause for the late filing. Proof of employment or self-employment must be submitted no later than 21 days after filing the claim.

The following documents are acceptable as proof of employment:

  • Payroll voucher closest in date to the last work week
  • Employment and earnings statement from employer with name, address and contact information
  • Written statement from employer
  • Notarized statement from person with name, address and contact information who can verify the claimant’s employment and unemployment (this is for workers who are unable to reach their employer)
  • Business records (bank statements, business receipts, licenses, advertisements, invoices, appointment books, financial statements)
  • Notarized statement from person with name, address, and contact information who can verify the claimant’s self-employment and unemployment

For self-employed people, a 2020 federal income tax return and schedules can serve as proof of prior wages but will not serve as proof of employment at the time of the disaster.

DUA will be available for weeks of unemployment beginning May 23 until Dec. 4 as long as the individual’s unemployment continues to be a direct result of the disaster.

Due to high call volume, the Workforce Commission urges applicants to file their DUA claims online by visiting laworks.net through the LWC’s HiRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) portal. Applicants may also file by calling the Benefits Analysis Team at (866) 783-5567 from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the following 22 years since then, he has worked as a journalist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. Much of his work has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and watchdog coverage of municipal and state government. He has received several honors and recognitions, including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus, a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper, and an adjunct English teacher at Baton Rouge Community College. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his teenage son and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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