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Information related to Central Washington wildfires

Updated: Friday, August 15, 2014

Disaster Unemployment Assistance - also known as DUA

DUA is a special program that provides unemployment benefits to people affected by a disaster. DUA requires authorization from the President. Washington Governor Jay Inslee requested a DUA declaration from President Obama, but that request was denied. 

Governor Inslee has 30 days to appeal and has indicated he will do so. The federal government then has 90 days to make a final decision. We will notify the news media and post more information on this website if DUA is approved and benefits become available.

If you lost your job due to the Central Washington wildfires

We encourage you to file an application for unemployment benefits right away, and we will determine whether you’re eligible.

  • If you have access to your employment records (such as pay slips), we encourage you to apply online.
  • If you are unable to access your employment records, please contact our claims center at 800-318-6022.


Alternative to “regular” unemployment benefits

If we determine you’re not eligible for “regular” unemployment benefits and you’re now unemployed as a direct result of the fires, you may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Benefits (DUA).

DUA is a special program that requires authorization from the President. The Governor has requested a DUA declaration from the President. We will notify the news media and post more information on this website if the benefits become available.

Who’s eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance?

Only people who lost their jobs as a direct result of the Central Washington wildfires, and who don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits may receive DUA. Examples:

  • Self-employed individuals who can’t operate their business due to the Central Washington wildfires.
  • A worker whose place of employment was physically damaged or destroyed.
  • An employee whose worksite is inaccessible because a road or the business is closed.
  • Someone whose employer or business loses work because it received most of its revenue from another entity that was damaged or destroyed in the Central Washington wildfires.
  • Someone who was prevented from beginning a new job.
  • Someone who can no longer work due to an injury suffered in the Central Washington wildfires.
  • Someone who became the head of his or her household because of a death caused by the Central Washington wildfires.


What to do while awaiting a DUA declaration

First, go ahead and apply for unemployment benefits to verify if you qualify for regular benefits, and to provide correct contact information. If you don’t qualify for regular benefits, we will update our website if DUA is activated.

We’ll also notify the news media if DUA becomes available – so please monitor local news coverage if you don’t have reliable access to the internet.

If you couldn’t file a weekly claim when it was due

Keep track of any efforts you make to file a claim (dates and times). When you’re finally able to reach a claims agent at 800-318-6022, explain that you didn’t have phone or Internet access due to the Central Washington wildfires, and ask the agent to backdate your weekly claim.

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