RALEIGH, N.C. (WVEC) -- The Division of Employment Security (DES) has approved twenty counties for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

The counties that were approved include:

  • Beaufort Co.
  • Bertie Co.
  • Bladen Co.
  • Columbus Co.
  • Cumberland Co.
  • Dare Co.
  • Edgecombe Co.
  • Greene Co.
  • Harnett Co.
  • Hoke Co.
  • Hyde Co.
  • Johnston Co.
  • Jones Co.
  • Lenoir Co.
  • Nash Co.
  • Pitt Co.
  • Robeson Co.
  • Sampson Co.
  • Wayne Co.
  • Wilson Co.

These counties were approved following the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew. Other counties may be added to the DUA availability at a later date.

The one-week waiting period and job search requirements for individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted due to the storm, will not be enforced. This order was directed from Governor Pat McCrory, in order to assist the citizens who have suffered losses and are likely to suffer imminent widespread losses.

Those affected by the disaster and are unable to continue working must file an application for the benefits within 30 days of October 13, or by November 14, 2016.

Workers who became unemployed due to the storm may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under the DUA program. Business owners may also qualify.

Workers or business owners must fall within a certain criteria to be eligible for benefits:

  • Individuals must be unemployed due to Hurricane Matthew, and must not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits. If you do qualify for regular unemployment benefits, you must exhaust those benefits first.
  • Self-employed workers and small business owners who lost their income due to the hurricane.
  • Workers who were prevented from working due to an injury caused by the disaster.
  • Workers who have become the major supplier of the household income due to death or injury of the previous major supplier of the household.
  • Workers who are unable to attend work because they would have to travel through affected areas, and are prevented from doing so.
  • Workers who were to commence employment or self-employment but were prevented from doing so by the disaster.

Individuals who would like to apply for the assistance will first need to file for regular unemployment insurance, if they are denied those benefits, or have exhausted those benefits, a DUA claim may then be filed.

Individuals will need their Social Security number, copies of their most recent federal income tax forms or check stubs, or documentation to prove that they were working or self-employed when the hurricane hit. All required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the day the application is filed.

The benefits will be available for weeks of employment beginning the week of October 9, and will last for up to 26 weeks, as long as the claimant's unemployment continues to be a result of Hurricane Matthew.

If you would like to apply for DUA, call 1-866-795-8877, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

If you have any questions on how to apply, please email DES at esc.dua@nccommerce.com or visit www.ncesc.com.