Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Helping Workers Whose Jobs Have Been Affected by Natural Disasters

Iowa Severe Weather Event:  AUgust 10, 2020

Gov. Kim Reynolds formally requested an expedited Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Iowa communities and counties that have been severely impacted by the devastating derecho storm that occurred on Monday, August 10th, 2020.   The governor requested funding under the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Individual Assistance Program for twenty-seven counties.   If approved, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) will be available in Iowa.  As soon as IWD is notified of the approval, we will update our website and issue a press release.


Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a program which provides temporary income to eligible individuals who become unemployed as a result of a major disaster. It is funded by the federal government, not by state unemployment taxes paid by employers.

Major Disaster

A “major disaster” is a hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, earthquake, drought, ice conditions, fire or other catastrophe. The President declares a major disaster and makes funds available. The Disaster Assistance Period is the first week following the date the disaster began and ends with the 26th week after the disaster was declared. IWD will announce the 30-day benefit application period. You must file your DUA claim during this 30-day period.

Information for Employers

  • An employer will not be charged for benefits paid to employees receiving unemployment insurance benefits as a direct result of a natural disaster if a Presidential declaration has been made.
  • A Presidential declaration for disaster for individual assistance must be made in specific counties for disaster unemployment insurance payments to be available.  
  • If no Presidential declaration is made, employers may still be charged for benefits paid to employees.
  • Contact us if your employees cannot work as a result of disaster.
  • All individuals who wish to be reviewed for UI eligibility must file an initial claim application online.
  • All employers who have affected workers that are unable to work due to the disaster should contact us as soon as possible by phone 866-239-0843 or by email uiclaimshelp@iwd.iowa.gov and provide us with the following information:
    • Name of employer
    • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
    • Address of work location 
    • Number of employees affected
    • Contact Name, phone number and email address
  • Employers should respond to all Notice of Claims (65-5317) or SIDES notifications if a claim is filed for someone that is not working due to disaster.

    Information for employees/self employed workers affected by disaster

    • If you are not working as a result of disaster, you must file an unemployment insurance claim application online. Please see additional information below.
    • Your claim will be reviewed to determine if you have wages reported in Iowa.
    • An individual will need to contact us to apply for DUA if they are denied on their regular UI claim (this would include someone who has no wages, lacks earnings, or has enough earnings but gets denied on a regular claim).  If you are not receiving your mail as a result of the disaster, you should contact us 3 business days after you have filed your claim.  Contact us by phone at 866-239-0843 or by email at uiclaimshelp@iwd.iowa.gov

    Individual Eligibility

    DUA is available to workers or self-employed individuals in the disaster area at the time it occurred and whose major source of livelihood is damaged due to the disaster. You must meet at least one of the following requirements.

    As a direct result of the disaster, you:

    • Have a week of unemployment following the date the major disaster began
    • Are unable to reach the place of employment
    • Were to have started work and do not have the job or are unable to reach the job
    • Become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of household died as a direct result of the major disaster
    • Cannot work because of an injury caused as a direct result of the major disaster

    File Your Initial Claim

    • File online at https://uiclaims.iwd.iowa.gov/UIInitialClaim/ or call 1-866-239-0843 from Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 4:30pm.
    • You will need your Social Security Number (SSN). A representative will help you determine if you are eligible for any other unemployment benefits.  If so, you will collect those instead of DUA. If not, the representative will help you file your DUA claim.
    • Provide proof of wages. If you are unable to provide this proof,  you can provide proof of employment within 21 days and a determination will be issued for the minimum DUA amount.   
    • Your benefit amount will be based on the income received during the most recent completed tax year. The minimum weekly DUA benefit amount will be used until proof of income is provided. You have until the end of the disaster period to provide proof of wages.  You may need to supply a copy of your federal tax return for the prior completed tax year and your claim will be re-determined.  

    If you worked for an employer who does not report your income for unemployment purposes:

    You may use copies of check stubs, W-2 forms, or other proof.  You will also need a copy of your Social Security Card.

    If you were Self Employed

    You will need a copy of your Social Security Card and a complete set of your federal income tax return from the most recent completed tax year.  Forms needed may include:

    • Form 1040 - U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

    • Schedule C - Profit or Loss from Business
    • Schedule C-EZ - Net Profit from Business
    • Schedule F - Profit or Loss from Farming
    • Schedule K-1 - Partner's Share of Income, Credits
    • Schedule SE - Self Employment Tax

    Income reported on IRS Forms 4797 or 4835 cannot be used as proof if income.

    How to File Your Weekly Claim

    If you are eligible for regular UI benefits, you can file your weekly claim at https://uiclaims.iwd.iowa.gov/weeklyclaims

    For all DUA claims, weekly claims will be performed using a paper continued claims form provided in your initial DUA packet. These can be mailed into the Benefits Service Center at the below address or emailed to uiclaimshelp@iwd.iowa.gov

    Iowa Workforce Development
    Attn. DUA
    1000 E Grand Avenue
    Des Moines, IA 50319


    If you do not agree with a decision made regarding your DUA claim, you have the right to appeal within 60 days.  You can appeal your decision in writing which includes an explanation of why you disagree as well as your full name, Social Security Number and signature.  You may also appeal online at http://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/ui-appeal.  

    Important Information

    DUA law is defined in 20 CFR part 625.

    You are responsible for the accuracy of the information you provide when claiming benefits. Iowa Workforce Development will verify the submitted information. If you willfully misrepresent information, you are committing fraud, and you may be subject to prosecution, repayment of benefits, and/or disqualification from future benefits.

    DUA benefits are subject to federal and state income taxes. You have the option of withholding 10 percent of your benefits for federal taxes and 5 percent for state taxes. See IRS Publication 505, "Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax," or the instructions for Form 1040-ES for more information.

    Contact Information

    For more information or to file a DUA claim, call 1-866-239-0843.

    Mail or Fax proof of income to:
    UI Benefits Section (DUA)
    Iowa Workforce Development
    1000 East Grand Avenue
    Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0209
    Fax: 515-242-0444

    Form Packets

    DUA Application Packet
    DUA Brochure