New Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits declared for workers impacted by winter storms in seven California counties


NR No. 23-15
Contact: Loree Levy/Aubrey Henry

The One-Week Waiting Period is waived for regular unemployment claims impacted by severe weather events

SACRAMENTO – Workers in seven California counties who have been impacted by the severe winter storms, straight-line winds, and mudslides that began on February 21, 2023 and are continuing, are now eligible to file for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits as part of a new federal disaster benefits declaration.

Kern County Mariposa County Monterey County San Benito County
Santa Bernadino County Santa Cruz County Tulare County Tuolumne County

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) administers these benefits, which are available to workers, business owners, and self-employed individuals who lost their jobs or businesses, or had their work hours reduced due to impacts brought about by the severe storms.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has determined that individuals who lost work or self-employment as a direct result of impacts caused by ongoing severe storms in the identified counties are now eligible to apply for federal DUA benefits. The FEMA approval is for FEMA designated disaster area 4699-DR.

EDD is required to first check to see if the applicant is eligible for regular state provided Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits before processing the claim for DUA benefits. For those who do qualify for regular UI benefits, the usual one-week waiting period has been waived for those impacted by the winter storms and Atmospheric River events. For those who were approved for a regular UI claim before the approval on the waiver, the EDD will issue payment for the one-week waiting period previously served. A waiting week is already not required on DUA claims.

DUA applies to losses beginning the week of February 26, 2023 for claimants impacted by the storms. Eligible full-time workers can receive between $171 and $450 a week in benefits for a maximum period of 32 weeks. Part-time workers may also be eligible for benefits. The last payable week of this emergency benefit ends October 7, 2023.

DUA benefits are offered to victims of a federally-declared disaster and are available to individuals who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Worked or were a business owner or self-employed, or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment, in the disaster area. This includes, and is not limited to, those in the agricultural and fishing industries.
  • Cannot reach work because of 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.
  • Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster.
  • Became the head of their household because of a death caused by the

Individuals must have applied for and used all regular unemployment benefits, or do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits and remain unemployed as a direct result of the disaster. Also, the work or self-employment they can no longer perform must have been their primary source of income.

Applications for this DUA benefit must be filed by May 15, 2023, unless the individual has good cause to file a late application.

In addition, to receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the day the DUA application is filed. Required documentation includes the most recent federal income tax form or check stubs, or other documentation to support that the individuals were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred. Documentation for the self-employed can be obtained from banks, government entities, or affidavits from individuals having knowledge of their business. 

The fastest and easiest way for new claimants to apply for DUA is to use EDD’s UI Online application, which is available in both English and Spanish. Applicants can also get assistance at local job centers or apply in person at Local Assistance Centers or Disaster Recovery Centers.

In addition, claimants can apply for DUA by phone between 8 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays:

  • English: 1-800-300-5616
  • Spanish: 1-800-326-8937
  • Armenian: 1-855-528-1518
  • Chinese (Cantonese): 1-800-547-3506
  • Chinese (Mandarin): 1-866-303-0706
  • Korean: 1-844-660-0877
  • Tagalog: 1-866-395-1513
  • Vietnamese: 1-800-547-2058

EDD’s Disaster-Related Services webpage includes more information for individuals and businesses impacted by disasters, including tax filing extensions for affected employers. EDD also encourages individuals to visit the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services website for the latest information on Local Assistance Centers where individuals, families and businesses can access disaster assistance programs and services.

The EDD administers the federal disaster-benefits program in California for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.