District of Columbia

Washington D.C. Extended Unemployment

The rolls of jobless workers in Washington D.C. have been growing steadily, with no end in sight for long-term unemployed residents as they continue to face ongoing economic hardship.

Traditional unemployment insurance benefits have offered a temporary solution to many of the unemployed, providing payments for a maximum of 26 weeks. However, some Washington D.C. residents also may be eligible for extended unemployment benefits that allow payments to run for up to 99 weeks in some cases.

A federal benefits program, called Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), offers four tiers of supplementary help to eligible workers who have exhausted their regular benefits. A second program, the federal-state Extended Benefits (EB) program, may offer additional weeks of assistance to eligible residents.

These extended unemployment programs are not always available, but may be triggered by high unemployment rates and by Congressional action. At the present time, some D.C. residents continue to be eligible for extended unemployment benefits while others are not.

Legislation approved in December 2010 extended federal EUC and federal-state EB programs through Jan. 3, 2012. The new law did not extend long-term unemployment benefits beyond 99 weeks, but it did set up new deadlines for applying for this assistance.

The Washington D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) oversees both regular unemployment benefits and the emergency compensation programs. The DOES is making information available at its website, www.does.dc.gov, to help unemployed district workers understand the changes in extended benefit programs.

DOES cites these key deadlines and changes:

  • If you are filing a new unemployment insurance application on or after July 3, 2010, you will be able to receive regular benefits but will not be able to receive extended assistance.
  • To be eligible for additional benefits through the federal EUC program, job-seekers should have used up their regular unemployment benefits by May 22, 2010 and applied for the EUC program before May 29, 2010.
  • In order to receive the federal-state EB extension, job-seekers should have used up their regular unemployment benefits and their EUC benefits before June 12, 2010.
  • Jobless workers must continue to file their weekly unemployment claim forms and work search information in order to maintain their eligibility. All initial and extended unemployment claims must be made through the DOES website at www.jobs.dc.gov or by contacting the department’s claims center at 202-724-7000 or 877-319-7346.

The requirements for extended unemployment eligibility could change again if Congress takes action. Visit the DOES website to keep on top of news about changes in benefits.

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District of Columbia