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Unemployment Compensation Process

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The Department of Employment Services (DOES) has been conducting a system update to process unemployment benefits related to the most recent extension under the Continued Assistance Act. While the update was in progress, some claimants were unable to file their weekly certifications. Affected claimants may now certify for the week ending January 9, 2021. On January 14, we conducted direct outreach to those affected. Please log-in to the online portal at dcnetworks.org or file by phone to complete your weekly certification as soon as possible.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the DOES Customer Navigation Center at 202-724-7000.

The District will continue sending one-time direct stimulus payments of $1200 in January to DC residents with an active DC Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claim, who filed a weekly certification and were deemed eligible to receive DC PUA benefits for the week ending December 5, 2020. No additional application is necessary to receive the stimulus payment.
 
 
Continued Assistance Act Update

The Department of Employment Services is currently reviewing the Continued Assistance Act, which modifies and extends unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, that was signed on December 27, 2020. We will update this page as well as our social media as more information becomes available.
 
Important Things to Know
  • Claimants should continue to file weekly certifications
  • We continue to await further federal guidance in order to properly implement the extensions of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance as well as the re-implementation of FPUC ($300 weekly benefit)
  • Eligible weeks prior to December 26, 2020 can still be processed
  • The Department of Employment Services is receiving a higher than normal call volume and encourages claimants to apply for unemployment compensation online at dcnetworks.org.
 
Notice Regarding CARES Act Provisions of Unemployment Compensation
 
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by the federal government to provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. District workers are eligible to receive an expansion of UI benefits through new unemployment benefits programs:
 
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - PUA covers individuals who are not eligible for regular UI benefits. This includes self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and gig economy workers.
 
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - PEUC covers individuals who have recently exhausted all rights to regular UI under state or federal law. It provides up to 24 weeks of unemployment benefits.
 
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – FPUC covers individuals currently receiving regular UI or PUA, and individuals eligible under PEUC. In addition to regular UI or PUA benefits, eligible individuals will receive an additional $300 per week.
 
Please note:
  • You must file for regular UI benefits before completing the PUA application. If you are eligible for regular UI, then that is the benefit you will receive. PUA is only available to individuals that are ineligible for regular UI.
  • All new PUA claims filed after December 26, 2020 can only be backdated to December 1, 2020.
  • The Continued Assistance Act provides benefits for eligible individuals beginning week ending January 2, 2021 through March 13, 2021. There are different eligibility requirements for each program and more information will be provided once it becomes available.
 
The Department of Employment Services is receiving a higher than normal call volume and encourages claimants to apply for unemployment compensation online at dcnetworks.org.
 
 
Implementing the CARES Act
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by the federal government to provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. District workers are eligible to receive an expansion of UI benefits through three new unemployment benefits programs. A summary of the expanded UI programs offered through the provisions of the CARES Act is provided below:
 
1. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
PUA covers individuals who are not eligible for traditional UI benefits, including the self-employed, those seeking part-time employment, individuals lacking sufficient work history, independent contractors, gig economy workers; and those who have exhausted their benefit eligibility under both traditional UI and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. As with traditional UI benefits, claimants should apply for PUA in the jurisdiction where they worked, rather than where they live. To apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance,, click here.
 
If you filed for PUA benefits before December and your claim was approved, eligible funds for the PUA program will be paid through week ending December 26, 2020. Continue to file your weekly unemployment certifications while DOES awaits guidance from the federal government on the issuing of additional benefits.
 
2. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
PEUC covers individuals who have recently exhausted all rights to regular UI under state or federal law. It provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits. To apply for PEUC, click here and follow the link labeled “File for PEUC.”
 
If your regular UI benefits exhausted prior to December 26, 2020, you must apply for PEUC to receive benefits through this date.
 
3. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
FPUC covers individuals currently receiving regular UI or PUA, and individuals eligible under PEUC (see above). In addition to regular UI or PUA benefits, eligible individuals will receive an additional $600 per week; however, this additional benefit expired on July 25, 2020.  
 
Extended Benefits (EB) Program
UI Extended Benefits Chart
 
What is the EB Program?
EB are additional UI benefits payable to qualified workers when an “Extended Benefit Period” occurs in the District. EB is payable only for weeks of unemployment during an EB period and is available only to individuals who meet the criteria, including additional eligibility provisions that do not apply to regular UI.
 
When does the EB Program Begin?
The current EB period in the District began on May 24, 2020 and provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits to workers who have exhausted regular UI benefits and PEUC benefits. Since EB is not payable until after PEUC has exhausted, the week ending on July 4, 2020 is the first potential payable week of EB.
 
Who is Eligible for EB?
To be eligible for EB, you must first exhaust all 26 weeks of traditional UI benefits and all 13 weeks of PEUC benefits (a total of 39 weeks of benefits) and continue to be unemployed. Alternatively, if your benefit year for regular UI expired after July 1, 2019, and you received the 13 weeks of PEUC benefits, you may be eligible for EB. You must also not be eligible for a regular unemployment insurance claim in the District or any other state.
 
How to Apply for EB
Individuals may file for EB at www.dcnetworks.org, and click the Claim Unemployment Benefit tab. Upon clicking the link, please select File for EB. Complete the questions asked and enter any requested information. The process will redirect those eligible to file for the EB program to the proper application.
With Mayor Bowser adjusting the District of Columbia’s operating status in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), District residents may file for unemployment compensation at dcnetworks.org
 
To begin the process of filing for your unemployment benefits, you will need to have the following information readily available:
  • Your social security number
  • Your most recent 30-day employer’s name, address, phone number and dates of employment
  • Your Alien Registration Number, if you are not a US Citizen
  • Your DD214, if you are ex-military
  • Your Standard Form 8 or Standard Form 50, if you are a former federal employee
  • Severance pay information (only applicable if you did or will receive severance pay)
  • Pension
 
 
LOST WAGES ASSISTANCE (LWA)
 
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved funding for the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) to provide $300 per week in Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) to eligible DC workers for a limited number of weeks. LWA is not an unemployment insurance program; it is a FEMA program that provides a supplemental payment on top of the unemployment benefits an eligible claimant receives from the District. Benefits under LWA was available only for the weeks ending August 1, 2020 through September 5, 2020.
 
To be eligible for this benefit, individuals must have a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 per week from an approved unemployment compensation program and must certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. 
 
What do I have to do to apply for Lost Wages Assistance?
You do not have to file a separate claim or application for Lost Wages Assistance. However, you must self-certify whether you are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19 for DOES to determine your eligibility for LWA. As of September 19, 2020, when you first log in to your Claimant Services portal on www.dcnetworks.org, you will be presented with a self-certification question pertaining to LWA. The self-certification can only be completed once, so please review and answer carefully. If you complete the self-certification incorrectly, you will not be able to correct it without the assistance of an agent.
 
There are three ways to self-certify:
  1. When you first log in to your Claimant Services portal on www.dcnetworks.org, you will be presented with a self-certification question pertaining to LWA. The self-certification can only be completed once, so please review and answer carefully. If you complete the self-certification incorrectly, you will not be able to correct it without the assistance of an agent.
  2. If you are unable to access the Claimant Services portal, please call (202) 724-7000 and a customer navigation representative will assist you with your self-certification.
  3. You may also self-certify in person via a paper form at the front desk of our headquarters at 4058 Minnesota Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20019.
 
Please note that confidential unemployment compensation information may be requested and utilized for other governmental purposes, including, but not limited to, verification of eligibility under other government programs. This notice is required by 20 C.F.R. § 603.11 
 
– How do States notify claimants and employers about the uses of their information?
 
For information regarding the next steps after filing an initial unemployment claim, read the  Unemployment Insurance What’s Next 
 
For detailed instructions regarding how to certify for weekly unemployment benefits, read the Instructions for Completing the Continued Claim Form (English or Spanish)
 
For detailed information regarding our Identify Verification and Authentication Program, read the  UI Identity Verification and Authentication Program FAQs.
 
 
 
Service Contact: 
Office of Unemployment Compensation - Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Contact Email: 
Contact Phone: 
(202) 724-7000
Contact Fax: 
(202) 698-5706
Contact TTY: 
TTY
Contact Suite #: 
4th Floor
Office Hours: 
Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm