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Colo.: Unemployment Assistance for Flood Victims

By SHRM Online staff  10/21/2013
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A little known benefit of the president issuing a major disaster declaration, as he did for the areas ravaged by the Colorado floods in September, is that individuals who would otherwise not be eligible for unemployment benefits may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced that individuals in Adams, Boulder, Clear Creek, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer and Weld counties who lost their jobs because of the flooding and do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits may receive temporary financial assistance. That includes those who are self-employed, farm workers, or those who do not have enough wage history but can prove they were working or were scheduled to begin work on or after the flood, but cannot perform that work because of the disaster.

The special DUI benefits are usually available for up to 26 weeks beginning the week following the disaster declaration or when the individual is able to resume work, whichever occurs first. The department also announced that individuals currently receiving regular unemployment benefits who live in the flooded areas were excused from the requirement that they seek work as of Sept. 11, 2013, for as long as the flood is the only circumstance preventing them from looking for work.

The department also announced that the due date for third quarter unemployment premium payments by businesses in the nine counties hit by the floods has been extended and late payment penalties and interest are waived as long as the payments are filed and paid by the new due date, Nov. 30. In addition, claims made against employers in the flooded areas will not impact the businesses’ experience ratings.

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