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Unemployment Compensation

A person circling job ads in a newspaper
District workers 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 received or will receive severance pay)
  • Pension information/documentation
Implementing the American Rescue Plan Act
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law on March 11, 2021, extended a number of provisions that are offered under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act (CAA). The CARES Act was originally passed on March 27, 2020 and the CAA on December 27, 2020 by the federal government to provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Many of the additional unemployment programs enacted by the CARES Act and the CAA are now effective through the week ending September 4, 2021. Additional weeks under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) programs will begin processing in April 2021. Claimants should continue to file weekly certifications. All owed benefits will be paid retroactively.
 
A summary of the changes implemented by the act is provided below:
District workers are now eligible to receive an extension of UI benefits through the following programs:
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – DOES is working on system modifications to extend PUA for an additional 29 weeks (additional weeks are only effective March 14, 2021 through the week ending September 4, 2021). PUA covers individuals who are not eligible for traditional UI benefits for up to 79 total weeks. This includes self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and gig economy workers, as well as those who have exhausted their benefit eligibility under traditional UI, PEUC, and Extended Benefits (EB). PUA is effective February 2, 2020 through September 4, 2021. No new applications will be allowed after September 6, 2021.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) –DOES is working on system modifications to extend PEUC for 29 additional weeks (additional weeks are only effective March 14, 2021 through the week ending September 4, 2021). No new applications will be allowed after September 6, 2021. PEUC covers individuals who have recently exhausted all rights to traditional UI under state or federal law and now provides up to 53 total weeks of unemployment benefits.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – DOES is working on system modifications to extend FPUC through September 4, 2021. FPUC provides an additional $300 per week in supplement benefits to claimants who are eligible through traditional UI, Shared Work, PEUC, EB, or PUA. The extra $300 is available from week ending January 2, 2021 through the week ending September 4, 2021.
  • Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) – DOES is working on system modifications to extend MEUC through September 4, 2021. MEUC provides a $100 weekly supplement to eligible individuals with annual self-employment income of at least $5,000. To be eligible for MEUC, individuals must have received at least $5,000 of self-employment income in the most recent taxable year ending prior to the individual’s application for regular UI.
  • Tax Relief for Claimants - For the 2020 tax year, the ARPA waives federal taxes on unemployment insurance benefits (up to $10,200 for individuals and up to $20,400 for married couples filing jointly, if each spouse received UI benefits) for households with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. More information about this waiver will be provided once additional federal guidance is released.
  • Tax Relief for Employers - The applicable period for emergency unemployment relief for governmental entities and nonprofit organizations is extended to September 4, 2021. Additionally, the amount of emergency relief for weeks of unemployment beginning after March 31, 2021, increases from 50 percent of compensation paid to 75 percent.
Important Note Related to the Implementation Effort of the American Rescue Plan Act
DOES is currently updating our systems to accommodate the new extensions under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Guidance from the Department of Labor was recently released, and we are in the process of making system modifications to comply with the new legislation. If you are experiencing difficulties navigating the system or certifying for benefits, please contact our Customer Navigation Center at 202-724-7000, Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm, for assistance. We suggest that claimants continue to check their portals, emails, and our website as updates will be provided as soon as they become available.
 
Additional Funding Announced by Mayor Bowser
On February 8, Mayor Bowser announced an additional $11 million to go to DOES to help fund additional staff as well as an update on system modifications taking place to adhere to the CAA. With over 171,000 new unemployment claims since March 13, 2020, DOES continues to work relentlessly to ensure the agency is meeting community needs and rising to the challenge of more efficiently serving District workers.
 
Accessing Unemployment Quick Guide
 
 
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 PEUC. As with traditional UI benefits, claimants should apply for PUA in the jurisdiction where they worked, rather than where they live. PUA is available for week ending February 2, 2020 through September 4, 2021. Claimants can receive up to 79 total weeks of PUA benefits.
 
Any individual who receives a payment of PUA after December 27, 2020 is required to provide documentation validating employment or self-employment, or the planned start of employment or self-employment. The deadline for providing such documentation depends on when you file your initial PUA claim.
  • If you file a new PUA application on or after January 31, 2021 you are required to provide documentation within 21 days of application.
  • If you have an existing PUA claim as of December 27, 2020, or you file a new initial PUA claim before January 31, 2021, and you receive PUA on or after December 27, 2020, you must provide documentation within 90 days.
The following lists provide examples of documentation that can be used to provide proof of employment or self-employment:
Proof of Employment
  • Paycheck stubs
  • Earnings and leave statements
  • W-2 forms
  • Letters offering employment
  • Statements/affidavits verifying an offer of employment
Proof of Self-Employment
  • Federal employer identification numbers
  • Business licenses
  • Tax returns
  • Business receipts
  • Statements/affidavits verifying self-employment
  • Written business plans
  • Lease agreements
*Statements and affidavits must include names and contact information.
 
Individuals who do not provide documentation substantiating employment/self-employment (or planned employment/self-employment) within the required timeframe, as described above, are not eligible for PUA.
 
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 53 total weeks of unemployment benefits. To apply for PEUC, click here and follow the link labeled “File for PEUC.”
 
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 $300 per week. This additional benefit will be available week ending January 2, 2021 through September 4, 2021.
 
Extended Benefits (EB) Program
UI Extended Benefits Chart
UI Extended Benefits Chart - Spanish
 
What is the EB Program?
Extended Benefits 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 additional weeks of benefits to workers who have exhausted regular UI benefits and PEUC benefits.

Who is Eligible for EB?
To be eligible for EB, you must first exhaust all 26 weeks of traditional UI benefits and all 53 weeks of PEUC benefits (a total of 79 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 53 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.
 
What is the High Unemployment Period (HUP)?
A High Unemployment Period (HUP) exists when the total unemployment in the District of Columbia (seasonally adjusted), as determined by the U.S. Secretary of Labor, for the most recent three months, equals or exceeds 8.0 percent. HUP benefits end immediately when the U.S. Department of Labor determines that the unemployment rate in the District of Columbia falls below federal requirements.
 
Current Status of HUP
Based on data released on March 15, 2021 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the seasonally-adjusted 3-month average TUR for the District of Columbia rose above the 8.0 percent threshold meeting the criteria to trigger “on” to a High Unemployment Period (HUP). Therefore, beginning on April 4, 2021, the maximum potential entitlement for claimants in the EB program will increase from 13 weeks to 20 weeks. However, the number of eligible weeks is subject to change, as this information is predicated on the District’s unemployment rate.
 
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.
 
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 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 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
For detailed instructions regarding how to certify for weekly unemployment benefits
For detailed information regarding our Identify Verification and Authentication Program, read the following 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