District of Columbia Unemployment Insurance Benefits Eligibility

District of Columbia Unemployment Insurance Benefits Eligibility

To be eligible for District of Columbia Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must meet all of the following requirements:

General Eligibility:

  • Be unemployed through no fault of your own. This means you must have lost your job due to reasons beyond your control, such as a layoff, company closure, or natural disaster. You are not eligible if you were fired for misconduct or quit your job without good cause.
  • Have wages in at least two quarters of the base period. The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before your claim.
  • Have earned at least $1,300 in wages in one quarter of the base period.
  • Have earned at least $1,950 in wages for the entire base period.
  • Meet the total base period wage requirement. This means the total amount you earned during the base period must be at least one and a half (1.5) times the wages in your highest quarter or be within $70 of that amount.

Additional Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be able and available to work. This means you must be actively looking for a new job and be willing to accept suitable work when offered.
  • Register for work with the Department of Employment Services (DOES). You can do this online at the DOES website or in person at a DOES career center.
  • Meet the work search requirement. This means you must make a certain number of job contacts each week, depending on the unemployment rate.

Work Search Requirements:

  • Unemployment Rate of 4.5% or less: 3 job contacts per week
  • Unemployment Rate between 4.51% and 5.50%: 2 job contacts per week
  • Unemployment Rate above 5.50%: 1 job contact per week

How to Apply for D.C. Unemployment Insurance Benefits:

  1. Create an account on the DOES website.
  2. Complete an online application for benefits.
  3. Submit your application.
  4. Attend a mandatory orientation meeting.
  5. Start looking for work.
  6. Claim your benefits weekly.

How Long Will I Receive Benefits?

The length of time you can receive benefits depends on your wages and the unemployment rate in the District of Columbia. The maximum amount of benefits you can receive is 26 weeks, but you may be eligible for fewer weeks depending on your circumstances.

How Much Will I Receive in Benefits?

The amount of benefits you receive each week will be based on your wages in the past year. The minimum benefit amount is currently $78 per week, and the maximum benefit amount is currently $468 per week.

What if I Have Questions?

If you have questions about D.C. Unemployment Insurance benefits, you can contact the DOES at 202-671-4503. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions on the DOES website: https://unemployment.dc.gov/

Additional Resources:

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