District of Columbia

Apply and Receive Washington D.C. Unemployment

The jobless rate in Washington D.C. climbed to the highest level in ten years during the summer of 2011, igniting fears that residents would continue to face financial instability for many months to come. The nation’s capital, with its steady increase in jobless claims, now has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.

Unemployment benefits are providing a measure of financial security for some D.C. residents who have lost their jobs. By filing an application for unemployment insurance, jobless men and women are able to collect the money they need to care for their families while they continue searching for work.

The D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) handles jobless claims through its Unemployment Compensation Program. Unemployment applications may be filed either over the internet or by telephone, but the agency promises much quicker service if you choose the online option.

To apply for unemployment online, visit the DOES website at www.dcnetworks.org. Most people are able to file an initial claim at this site, but those who can’t use this option will receive instructions about how to proceed with their applications.

Unemployment claims also may be made over the telephone by calling the department's local number at 202-724-7000 or its toll-free number at 877-319-7346. The phone lines currently are open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. An automated help line also is available all day on Saturdays. Remember that call volume can be heavy during peak business hours, so you may have to wait for assistance.

No matter how you choose to file your claim, you must have certain information available to complete the process. You will need your social security number and information about your most recent employer, including a name, address, phone number and dates of employment. Former members of the military must have a DD214 form, and residents who are not U.S. citizens need an Alien Registration Number. Former federal employees also need a Standard Form 8 or Standard Form 50. If you have received or will receive severance pay, make sure you also have that information on hand.

To receive unemployment payments, applicants must continue filing weekly benefits claims. After submitting your initial application, you should receive a claims form in the mail. You can mail this form to the address printed on the label, or you can file weekly claims by going to the agency’s internet site or contacting the call center. The D.C. office makes the process for receiving unemployment benefits easier by allowing payments to be deposited directly into your bank account.

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District of Columbia