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District of Columbia Unemployment Extension

District of Columbia Unemployment Extension

DC Extended Benefits (EB) program

During periods of high unemployment, the federal government can provide jobless DC workers with additional unemployment assistance. Extended Benefits (EB) is a DC unemployment extension that helps District residents who become unemployed during an economic downturn and need more time to find new work. EB benefits are available for those who have already used up all of their regular DC unemployment benefits.

Extended Benefits were last activated in Washington, DC during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ended in September 2021. The program gave extra money to eligible jobless workers in DC.

EB payments were for the same weekly amounts as regular DC unemployment payments. Note: UI payment amounts can be estimated using the DC unemployment calculator.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is a federal program offered across the United States. The program provides temporary financial help to people who lost their job or self-employment as a direct result of a major disaster, such as a hurricane, flood, tornado, or earthquake.

DUA is not currently available in the District of Columbia, but it can be activated if there is a significant disaster in the area.

If you were affected by a disaster and you lived, worked, or were going to work in the area that was declared a disaster, you might be able to get help if you meet any of these conditions:

  • You lost your job or your workplace was damaged
  • You were about to start a new job, but the disaster stopped it from happening
  • The disaster prevents you from getting to your job
  • You can’t work because of an injury caused by the disaster
  • You are now the main support for your household because the head of the household died because of the disaster

To be eligible for DUA, the claimant must not be able to qualify for regular unemployment insurance (UI). The U.S. Department of Labor and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) oversee the DUA program, which is administered by the Washington DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) when a disaster is formally declared.

DUA is triggered when the President declares a major disaster and authorizes DUA. To qualify for DUA, individuals must have lost their job or been unable to work as a direct result of the disaster, such as being unable to get to work, or the job no longer exists. If a person is eligible for regular UI benefits, they will receive those benefits instead of DUA.

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Extensions

During the COVID pandemic, a variety of helpful unemployment benefits were provided through the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan Act. Depending on the claimant’s weekly UI payment, these benefits provided $50 to $444 per week after regular UI benefits were exhausted. All pandemic benefits ended in Sept. 2021.

The now-expired benefits included Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC).

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

PUA benefits helped people who usually wouldn’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits. This included contract workers, self-employed workers, and those with a job history that wasn’t long enough to qualify for regular UI benefits.

Under the PUA program, eligible claimants could receive up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits, which included a $600 weekly federal supplement to the state unemployment benefits.

The PUA program ended on September 6, 2021, after multiple extensions by Congress.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) was a federal program created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provided additional unemployment benefits to individuals who exhausted their regular benefits.

PEUC provided up to 13 weeks of additional benefits to eligible individuals who had exhausted their state’s regular unemployment benefits. The program was part of the CARES Act (and later the American Rescue Plan Act) passed by Congress in March 2020.

PEUC benefits expired in September 2021

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

FPUC was created by the CARES Act of March 2020. During the pandemic, this federal unemployment benefit provided an additional weekly payment of $300 on top of regular unemployment benefits. This additional payment helped individuals who lost their jobs due to the pandemic and struggled to pay bills and make ends meet.

The FPUC program was administered by Washington DC’s DOES office. Anyone eligible for regular UI benefits automatically qualified for FPUC benefits as well. FPUC provided additional financial support to help jobless workers pay for basic necessities like food and rent.

The FPUC benefit expired in September 2021.

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)

MEUC was a program that gave eligible people who earned at least $5,000 working for themselves an extra $100 per week. Benefits became available in DC in February 2021 and continued until March 13, 2021.

To qualify for MEUC, you must have earned at least $5,000 from self-employment in the most recent tax year, and show proof of your self-employment income. MEUC was available for people who qualified for regular UI, PEUC, and EB. However, people who got PUA were not allowed to receive MEUC.

Please note that the MEUC benefit is no longer available in Washington, DC.

Additional Washington, DC Benefits

If you’ve exhausted all your UI benefits, you can explore other assistance programs available in the District of Columbia.

SNAP Food Stamps

Formerly known as Food Stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps low-income DC residents buy food. People who qualify for SNAP get a card called an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Funds are added via direct deposit and the EBT card works just like a debit card. Most stores that sell food will accept the EBT card. However, there are some things that SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy, such as non-food items like vitamins, alcohol, tobacco, soap, or paper towels.


The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program gives money to families who need help and offers them other services to help them succeed. Families who qualify for TANF can get help as long as they meet the income requirements. TANF also provides additional services for families, such as childcare assistance, behavioral support, and the TANF Employment Program (TEP).

The TANF program offers families access to different services such as:

  • TANF Employment Program (TEP): Helps parents with their work or education goals, and also helps them create goals for their children and family.
  • Child Care Subsidy: Helps parents afford quality childcare, including before and aftercare.
  • Behavioral Support: Provides parents and their children with counseling for issues related to their behavior, mental health, emotions, or substance abuse.
  • Tuition Assistance Program Initiative for TANF (TAPIT): Offers financial help to enroll in post-secondary educational programs or professional certificate and/or licensing programs.

Medical Services

Washington, DC offers medical coverage to low-income residents through three different programs: Medicaid, Alliance, and DC Healthy Families programs.


Medicaid provides health care coverage to low-income individuals and families. This program is jointly managed by both the federal government and Washington, DC. Medicaid covers doctor visits, hospital care, transportation to medical appointments, and mental health services. To be eligible for Medicaid in the District of Columbia, you must be a resident of the District and meet the non-financial and financial requirements.

DC Healthy Families

The DC Healthy Families program provides free healthcare to eligible DC residents. The program covers doctor visits, vision and dental, prescriptions, and hospital stays. DC Healthy Families also has special programs for newborn babies, disabled children, and people with HIV and AIDS.

DC Alliance

The DC Healthcare Alliance is a local program that provides medical assistance to low-income District residents who are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare. To be eligible for this program, you must be a resident of the District and not have any other health insurance coverage.

  1. DC unemployment is now over 6% why can’t I get an extension on benefits? I can’t find answers anywhere? I lost my “new” job to the corona virus. I’m going to be homeless this is crazy and frustrating

    • Ken,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly.

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

    • We understand this is a difficult time for you and your family. Currently, your state may not have activated “Emergency Funding” and thus, you may not get extended benefits. This shouldn’t deter you from applying for benefits online. Please visit your state’s official website for information relating to extended unemployment benefits. Find out more here.

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