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FAQ's About DC Unemployment Insurance

March 24, 2020
We have heard from several of you that some DC Unemployment Insurance applications your employees are submitting are being denied because they are selecting that they are “not actively looking for jobs”. We have talked to the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) about this and they have acknowledged there is a glitch that is being fixed. The form is currently being updated.
When employees file, they should be putting “COVID-19” as the reasoning. If denied, employees should file an appeal. We will have further information on how to do this shortly.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Should I officially terminate my employees so they can collect UI?
To be eligible for Unemployment Insurance in DC, employees must be terminated, furloughed without pay, or have had their work hours reduced to result in being partially employed. 
Per DC’s Emergency Legislation, the 1-week wait time to register for UI is eliminated.
For employers, unemployment Benefits will not be charged to the experience rating account. Please do note, DOES is experiencing extremely high registrations so you are encouraged to apply online. 
How do employees apply for Unemployment Insurance?
  • Click here to register for Unemployment Insurance in DC. Please pass this information along to your employees.
  • Click here for more information on the Unemployment Compensation Process. Please pass this information along to your employees.
  • Do not apply for UI in person or over the phone, instead you should do it online.
  • If your employees do not have access to a computer, we encourage you to provide one for them at your restaurant, so they can register online. The UI website is not mobile friendly, so it is recommended that a computer is used.
  • UI is currently set at $444 maximum per week. At the discretion of the City Council, they may revisit increasing the UI funding formula in the coming weeks.  We have been advocating for this increase and hope to see some movement to reflect an increase.
  • DOES is experiencing a high volume of applications, and is increasing employees working on UI, but some applicants have experienced wait times.
  • Click here for a video of DOES Director Unique Morris-Hughes explaining how to file for UI. 
Will furloughed employees qualify for UI benefits?
Yes, the person should be furloughed without pay and when applying for UI they should say, “laid off due to lack of work.” Click here to visit the RAMW blog for more information. 
Will my UI rate go up in DC because so many employees are applying?
No. The COVID-29 Emergency Legislation addresses this issue, and guarantees Unemployment Benefits will not be charged to the experience rating account.