Whitt Motor Sales owner Bruce Whitt shows the water line where floodwater capped around 5 feet inside his business. Photo by Jeannette Carrillo-The Biltmore Beacon.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is now available in three North Carolina counties, Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania, following the effects of Tropical Storm Fred.

The relief by the Division of Employment Security (DES) is in response to the disaster declaration in response to Tropical Storm Fred that devastated WNC residents, homes and businesses on Aug. 17. Additional counties may be added to the list of those eligible for DUA at a later date.

Workers in these counties who became unemployed as a direct result of Tropical Storm Fred may be eligible for unemployment benefits under the DUA program. Business owners affected by the storm also may qualify for benefits.

Individuals in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties have 30 days from Sep. 10 to file an application for Disaster Unemployment Assistance at

The deadline to apply is Oct. 10.

DUA is available in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties for weeks of unemployment, beginning Aug. 22, and may last for up to 29 weeks. Eligibility for DUA is determined weekly, and applicants must continue to be out of work as a direct result of the disaster each week to receive benefits.

DUA is a federal unemployment program that provides temporary payments for people who, as a direct result of Tropical Storm Fred:

• No longer have the job that provided their primary source of income.

• Are unable to reach their place of unemployment.

• Cannot work because of an injury caused by the storm.

• Were unable to begin employment or self-employment due to the storm.

• Have become the major supplier of household income due to a storm-related death of the previous major supplier of household income.

Applying for DUA

• All claimants are required to apply for state unemployment insurance benefits at If found ineligible, or if state unemployment benefits have been exhausted, person/s may file for DUA.

• To apply, claimants will need to supply their Social Security number, copies of 2020 federal income tax forms and check stubs, or documentation to support employment or self-employment when the storm occurred.

• To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the day the DUA application is filed.

Apply for state unemployment insurance benefits and DUA by creating an online account at

For additional assistance, contact the Division of Employment Security DUA hotline at 866-795-8877.

Find FAQs and an up-to-date list of counties that have been approved for DUA in North Carolina at

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