Washington DC Unemployment Insurance Benefits

The District of Columbia operates an unemployment insurance program to provide financial assistance to eligible Washington DC workers who have become unemployed through no fault of their own.

DC’s UI benefits program is administered by the Department of Employment Services and is financed through employer-paid taxes. No withholdings are ever taken from worker paychecks to cover the cost of the program. 

This support for Washington DC’s unemployed workers helps provide economic stability and lessen the negative effects of unemployment on individual families and the overall economy.

Washington D.C. Unemployment Services

Private Website
Washington DC Unemployment
Email[email protected]
Apply Onlinehttps://does.dcnetworks.org/initialclaims
Weekly Certificationhttps://does.optimumui.com/
Appeal a Denialhttps://does.dc.gov/page/appeals
Find a Local OfficeOffice Directory
Report FraudInsurance Fraud
Coronavirus Updateshttps://coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-individuals

How To Qualify for Washington DC Unemployment Benefits

To qualify for unemployment compensation in Washington DC, claimants must meet the following requirements:

  • Claimants must be unemployed through no fault of their own
  • Claimants must be ready and willing to accept suitable work if and when it is offered – this includes being physically and mentally able to work, along with having appropriate childcare, etc., to be able to accept employment.
  • Claimants must be actively searching for a new job – in Washington DC, this includes making at least two job search contacts each week and keeping a record of all job-search activities.
  • Claimants must not currently be receiving or seeking unemployment benefits from any other state

Eligibility decisions are made on a case-by-case basis for each employee, so you should submit your initial claim for UI benefits as soon as you become unemployed.

Benefit Payments and Duration

Base PeriodFirst 4 of the last 5 completed quarters
Alt Base PeriodLast 4 completed quarters
Duration of BenefitsWeekly PaymentMaximum Benefits Amount (1 year)
26 weeks$50$444$11,544

How To Apply for Washington DC Unemployment Benefits

Washington DC accepts initial claims for unemployment compensation online.

You can set up an account through the online system, which you can use moving forward to check the status of your unemployment claim and to file your weekly benefit claims.

Managing Your Unemployment Benefits

After your initial claim is submitted and approved, you must submit weekly certifications to verify your ongoing eligibility. You will report on your job search activities, plus any income earned or jobs you were offered.

You may file this weekly claim for benefit payment online, using the same account you created when you submitted your initial claim. You can also file your weekly claim over the telephone at 202-724- 7000. For both methods, you will need to use the password that you created or that was mailed to you when you filed your initial claim for UI benefits.

Please note that filing your weekly certification online is the fastest and easiest way to submit it, followed by submitting it by phone. If you are unable to file either online or over the phone, you may file your weekly claim by mail – simply mail your certification document to the address printed on the claim form.

How Do I Appeal a Decision?

Once your initial claim is filed, you will receive an official decision letter regarding its status. If your claim is denied and you would like to appeal the decision, both you and your employer have the option to do so.

You can access Washington DC’s appeals form online. Along with the form, you’ll need to submit a copy of your official letter outlining the decision for which you would like to request an appeal.

You may submit your request for appeal by mail, in person, by fax, or by email using the contact information listed below:

Fax: 202-442-4789
Email: [email protected]

Mail (or in person):
Office of Administrative Hearings
One Judiciary Square
441 Fourth Street NW, Suite 450 North
Washington, DC 20001-2714

Reporting Fraud

Anyone who knowingly collects benefits based on false or inaccurate information is committing unemployment benefits fraud. This is a serious and significant crime, punishable by law and resulting in serious penalties and consequences.

If you are aware of someone who is fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits in the D.C. area, you may report it by calling 877-FRAUD-60 (877-372-8360).

Washington, D.C. Unemployment Office Locations

Unemployment Office - Northeast5171 South Dakota Avenue NE
2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20017
Unemployment Office - Northwest2000 14th Street NW
3rd Floor, Suite #336
Washington, DC 20009
Unemployment Office Southeast2330 Pomeroy Road SE
Washington, DC 20020
Office of Youth Programs4058 Minnesota Ave NE
Washington, DC 20019