During a major disaster, the federal government can provide Disaster Unemployment Assistance for individuals who may not otherwise qualify for the state’s unemployment insurance benefits. The Hawaiʻi State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced Sept. 22, 2023 that the U.S. Department of Labor approved the extension of the application filing deadline for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits. Maui residents impacted by the wildfires may now file an initial claim for DUA through Oct. 26. The previous deadline for filing an initial application was Monday, Sept. 25. Applications filed after Oct. 26, 2023, will be considered untimely unless the individual provides good cause for filing late.
Individuals may apply for DUA online through huiclaims.hawaii.gov/#/ or in person.
Assistance with DUA applications and other forms may be obtained at the following location(s):
Maui County Business Resource Center
110 ‘Ala‘ihi Street Suite 209
Kahului, HI 96732 (808) 270-5777
Disaster Recovery Center
Lāhainā Civic Center Gymnasium
1840 Honoapi‘ilani Highway
Lāhainā, HI 96761
Maui Claims Office
54 South High St. Rm. 201
Wailuku, HI 96793
Maui American Job Center
110 Alaʻihi St. Rm. 209
Kahului, HI 96732
Purpose: Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
Eligibility: When a major disaster has been declared by the President, DUA is generally available to any unemployed worker or self-employed individual who lived, worked, or was scheduled to work in the disaster area at the time of the disaster; and due to the disaster:
DUA is available for eligible unemployed workers, self-employed individuals, farmers, and fishers engaged in business at the time of the disaster. Eligibility for DUA benefits will be determined on a week-to-week basis for each week a claim certification is filed.
An individual who becomes the head of household and is seeking work because the former head of household died as a result of the disaster may also qualify for DUA benefits.
Benefits: DUA benefits are payable to individuals (whose unemployment continues to be a result of the major disaster) only for weeks of unemployment in the Disaster Assistance Period (DAP). The DAP begins with the first day of the week following the date the major disaster began and continues for up to 26 weeks after the date the disaster was declared by the President.
The maximum weekly benefit amount payable is determined under the provisions of the state law for unemployment compensation in the state where the disaster occurred. However, the minimum weekly benefit amount payable is half (50%) of the average benefit amount in the state.
Filing a Claim: In the event of a disaster, the affected state will publish announcements about the availability of Disaster Unemployment Assistance. To file a claim, individuals who are unemployed as a direct result of the disaster should contact their State Unemployment Insurance agency.
Individuals who have moved or have been evacuated to another state should contact the affected state for claim filing instructions. Individuals can also contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency in the state where they are currently residing for claim filing assistance.
Read more Unemployment Fact Sheets
Individuals will need to provide proof to document employment or self-employment or to document work that was to begin on or after the date of the disaster. If proof of employment cannot be provided at the time the claim application is filed, individuals will have 21 calendar days from the time the claim application was filed to meet this requirement. Failure to submit this documentation within 21 days will result in a denial of DUA, and any benefits already paid will be considered overpaid. Individuals will be required to repay any benefits overpaid.
For assistance, individuals may also call (833) 901-2272 or (808) 762-5751 and (833) 901-2275 or (808) 762-5752. Free interpreter services are available.
For more information about DUA and regular unemployment insurance benefits please visit: https://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/
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Lahaina and Kula residents who have been impacted by the August fires are invited to talk story with Mayor Richard Bissen. There are several dates to choose from. Each talk story session will welcome up to 30 residents to give folks a chance to share mana‘o and ask questions.
Series of events from December 9 through January 27.