Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Helping Workers Whose Jobs Have Been Affected by Natural Disasters


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 benefit period is 26 weeks from the Sunday following the date the major disaster began.  WHO will announce the 30-day benefit application period. You must file your DUA claim during this 30-day period.

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

DUA is not available if you are entitled to regular unemployment insurance benefits. 

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 claims.
  • Provide proof of earnings. You will have 21 days from filing your initial DUA clam to provide proof of earnings from the most complete tax year. 
  • Provide proof of income. You will have until the end of the disaster period proof of income. The 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. 

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/UIInitialClaim/

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 29 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 income taxes. You have the option of withholding 10 percent of your benefits for this purpose. 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