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FEMA expands qualifications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance for 2022 Wildfires

New Mexicans may receive benefits for employment impacted in an affected county

Earlier this year, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) was made available for individuals whose employment was impacted by the 2022 Wildfires. Following the approval of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s request to expand the federal Disaster Declaration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has expanded this disaster declaration to include flooding, mudflows, and debris flows directly related to the 2022 Wildfires.

An individual may be eligible for DUA if they lived, worked, or had to commute to or through one of the affected counties of Colfax, Lincoln, Mora, San Miguel, and/or Valencia and was unable to report to their place of employment due to the fire or expanded disaster declaration.

The deadline to apply for DUA was June 15, 2022. Applications filed after the deadline may be accepted and approved based on the expanded declaration. Applicants must provide good cause for filing after the June 15th deadline.

“We are grateful to FEMA and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for expanding the disaster declaration that may have impacted employment for fellow New Mexican’s as a direct result of the wildfires,” said Department of Workforce Solutions Cabinet Secretary Sarita Nair. “We encourage people who faced these very real tragedies earlier this year to call our Unemployment Insurance Operations Center to explore possibilities for unemployment assistance, and to contact their local Workforce Connection office to learn more about employment services and training.”

DUA applicants may call the Unemployment Insurance Operations Center at 1-877-664-6984, 7:00am-4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

Proof of employment/self-employment is required to complete an application for DUA and must be submitted to the department no later than 21 days after filing for a DUA claim. The following documents are acceptable as proof of employment:

• Payroll voucher or check stub closest in date to the last work week
• Employment and earnings statement from employer with name, address and contact information
• Written statement from employer
• Business records (bank statements, business receipts, licenses, advertisements, invoices, appointment books, financial statements)

DUA may be available for weeks of unemployment beginning April 10, 2022, until November 5, 2022, as long as the individual’s unemployment continues to be a direct result of the disaster.

Free job services are available to all New Mexicans through the New Mexico Workforce Connection Online System, https://www.jobs.state.nm.us and through Ready NM at https://ready.nm.gov/.

Ready NM provides job seekers with access to explore more than 100,000 job openings, learn about high-demand career fields, find career training and education programs near them, and access information about other resources such as scholarships and grants, childcare and adult education services.

Representatives are also available by phone at 1-800-303-3599, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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