DUA and Oregon Wildfires: Frequently Asked Questions
The Oregon Employment Department is working with FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor to administer
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) for people affected by the Oregon wildfires. Disaster Unemployment Assistance is now available for those affected by the Oregon Wildfires. Visit Oregon.gov/employ/disaster for the DUA application, instructions, and more information.
Q. I am unemployed due to the wildfires. How do I get Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)?
A. You need to do two things.
- Turn in an initial claim for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Why? Federal law requires that we make sure you are not eligible for regular UI benefits before we can give you DUA benefits. The fastest way to file for UI is through our Online Claim System. You can also call 877-345-3484 (1-877-FILE-4-UI).
- Turn in your DUA application. You can do that many ways: fastest is online through our Contact Us form.
Which parts of Oregon qualify for DUA?
The counties that have been approved for DUA are:
- Linn, and
In the future, other counties may be added to the disaster declaration.
Who qualifies for DUA?
You can qualify for DUA if you:
- were self-employed and prevented from performing such services,
- were unable to reach your job,
- were scheduled to and prevented from beginning work or self-employment in the disaster area,
- were unable to work due to injury as a direct result of the disaster, or
- became head of household due a death caused by the disaster.
Your unemployment is a direct result of the major disaster if your unemployment resulted from:
- the physical damage or destruction of the place of employment;
- the physical inaccessibility of the place of employment due to its closure by the federal, state, or local government in immediate response to the disaster; or
- lack of work, or loss of revenues, if, prior to the disaster, the employer or self-employed business received at least a majority of its revenue or income from an entity in the major disaster area that was damaged or destroyed in the disaster or an entity in the major disaster area closed by the federal, state, or local government.
Q. I am at Level 1 Evacuation and the air quality is impacting my health. I am supposed to stay home. Can I get DUA benefits?
A. DUA is available for people who lost their employment as a direct result of this major disaster. If you are not physically able to reach your place of employment because roads are closed or because your place of employment is inaccessible as a result of the wildfires, you may be able to receive DUA benefits.
Q. I am already receiving unemployment benefits. Will I get DUA, too?
A. No. If you are already receiving any kind of unemployment benefits, you will not get DUA.
Q. What information do I need for the DUA application? Because of the fire, I don’t have access to my papers or computer.
A. You have up to 21 days to turn in information showing your work history. Required documentation includes:
- Your Social Security number
- Documentation showing you were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred, and
- Copy of your most recent federal income tax form or check stubs.
If you are self-employed, you can get documentation from banks or government entities, or affidavits from individuals who have knowledge of your business.
Examples of what FEMA is looking for include:
- Tax year 2019 income information,
- Proof of employment at the time of the disaster, or
- Proof of self-employment at the time of the disaster.
Q. How much money can I expect to get?
A. In most cases, the minimum weekly DUA amount is 50 percent of the average weekly UI amount paid in Oregon, or $210. The weekly benefit amount for people who worked full-time or part-time will range from $210 - $673.
Q. How will I receive my DUA assistance?
A. You most likely will receive your first benefits by check. That is why it is important that we have your most current address, even if it is temporary. After that, your funds will be placed on a ReliaCard VISA unless you request direct deposit through our Online Claim System.
Q. When I can expect to get this money?
A. We have made getting DUA funds out quickly a top priority.
Q. Do I have to file a weekly claim to get DUA benefits?
A. Yes. The fastest way to receive your DUA benefit is to turn in your DUA weekly claim form online through our Contact Us form.
Q. How long does DUA last?
A. DUA benefits are available from September 13, 2020 through March 20, 2021 as long as those weeks of unemployment are a direct result of this major disaster. DUA benefits do not have a waiting week.
Q. If my DUA benefits run out, am I eligible for other unemployment assistance programs?
A. No. People receiving DUA do not qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefit extension programs.
Q. Will I be eligible for the $300 Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) benefits?
A. No. The LWA program, which expired September 5, 2020, is only available if you are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Already claiming benefits, and affected by the wildfires?
Q: What do I do if I lost my ReliaCard?
A: If you have been evacuated due to the wildfires and need to replace a lost ReliaCard, the quickest way to get in contact with us is to fill out our Contact Us Form and select, “I evacuated due to the fires, and I need help on my claim.” A claims specialist will contact you to assist with ordering a new ReliaCard or setting up direct deposit. You can also contact us by phone at 1-877-345-3484, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Q: How do I change my mailing address?
A: If you need to update your mailing address due to the wildfires, log on to the Online Claims System and select “Change Your Address,” or you can contact us by phone at 1-877-345-3484, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Since we send important notices by mail, we recommend updating your address even if you use direct deposit or ReliaCard.
Q: Will my unemployment checks be returned if they cannot be delivered?
A: Yes. If we mailed you benefit checks and they cannot be delivered to the address we have on file for you, the post office will return them to us and we will reissue them. If your benefit checks were already delivered and lost due to the wildfires, fill out the Contact Us Form and select, “I evacuated due to the fires, and I need help on my claim.” A claims specialist will contact you to help with reissuing your payments.
Q: How long do I have to wait to have my checks reissued to me?
A: It can take up to 14 days from the day you contact us until we reissue your checks.
Q: I was ordered to evacuate from the wildfires and I am not able to search for work. How will this affect my claim?
A: Under our temporary rule, you can mark that you are actively seeking work if you are willing to resume your work search efforts once the State of Emergency has ended. Although this temporary rule was enacted due to COVID-19, it also covers wildfire-related evacuations.
Q: Am I eligible for unemployment if I lost my job due to the wildfires?
A: Maybe. You can take the eligibility quiz to help determine which program you may qualify for.
Q: My work is primarily outdoors, and I have been temporarily laid off or had my hours significantly reduced due to the wildfires. Is there an unemployment program that can help me during this time?
A: If you have had your hours reduced or have been laid off from work due to the wildfires, you may qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. To file an initial claim for Regular UI, log on to the Online Claim System and select “Regular UI Initial Claim.” You can also contact us by phone at 1-877-345-3484, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. for help with your claim.
Q: Can I get help from other community resources?
A: If you have been impacted by the wildfires, visit wildfire.oregon.gov for the most up to date resources available in your local area. Here is a list of additional resources that may be available to you:
• Help paying rent or finding housing
• Help paying utility bills
• Help getting groceries or other food, like food boxes or food pantries
• Help finding and paying for childcare
• Cash benefits
• Immediate help for people in a domestic violence situation
• General information about COVID-19
• Transportation help
• Resources for immigrant and undocumented communities
• Other resources available in your community
Call: 2-1-1 or 1-866-698-6155 (free language interpreters available by phone)
TTY: dial 711 and call 1-866-698-6155
Text: your zip code to 898211 (TXT211) (English and Spanish)
Email: email@example.com (English and Spanish)
If you lost or don’t have health coverage, you may qualify for a free or low-cost health plan.
If you have to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19, but do not have paid time off from work, you may be eligible for the Temporary Paid Leave Program.