We are currently experiencing unprecedented call volumes, resulting in longer than normal wait times. Claimants should apply for Unemployment Compensation online by clicking "File for Benefits" below.
Unemployment insurance claims that require DOES to access information provided through Virginia’s State Identification Inquiry (SIDI) may experience temporary processing delays. Virginia’s system for wage information has been inactive since December 3, 2021, due to scheduled maintenance. Although DOES continues to process claims, delays may continue until the state’s data system is fully restored.

Department of Employment Services
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Si necesita ayuda en Español, por favor llame al 202-724-7000 para proporcionarle un intérprete de manera gratuita.
Nếu quý vị cần giúp đỡ về tiếng Việt, xin gọi 202-724-7000 để chúng tôi thu xếp có thông dịch viên đến giúp qu‎ý vị miễn phí.
Si vous avez besoin d’aide en Français appelez-le 202-724-7000 et l’assistance d’un interprète vous sera fournie gratuitement.
በአማርኛ እርዳታ ከፈለጉ በ 202-724-7000 ይደውሉ። የነፃ አስተርጓሚ ይመደብልዎታል።
한국어로 언어 지원이 필요하신 경우 202-724-7000 로 연락을 주시면 무료로 통역이 제공됩니다.

  • Claimant's Rights and Responsibilities Handbook (EnglishSpanish)
  • Accessing Unemployment Benefits: A Quick Guide to Applying
  • The Department of Employment Services is currently experiencing an extremely high call volume and strongly encourages all claimants to
    apply for Unemployment Insurance online. Our online application is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For faster processing times,
    we recommend that you file during non-peak hours, such as early in the morning or late in the evening (8:00 PM – 7:00 AM).

    HEALTH INSURANCE - DC HEALTH LINK: If you are a resident who lost or are losing job-based health insurance, you can enroll in private health insurance.
    Check to see if you qualify for a reduced premium or apply for Medicaid (free health coverage) at

    COVID-19 Information:

    In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department of Employment Services (DOES)
    is currently under an adjusted operating status. To comply with the social distancing recommendations
    of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all agency events, gatherings, hearings and meetings are postponed, and all American Job Centers in the District are closed.

    The DOES Customer Navigation Center is currently experiencing much longer than normal wait times due to an extremely high volume of phone calls.
    For faster service, we strongly encourage the use of our online tools to file your initial claim for benefits and your weekly continued claim forms. If you need further assistance,
    you can contact our Customer Navigation Center at 202-724-7000, Monday – Friday between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM.

    If you are an employee negatively impacted by COVID-19 because you are sick, quarantined, had your hours reduced or were laid off, or are otherwise
    unable to go to work due to the virus, you should apply for unemployment insurance.

    Below you will find information and resources regarding our services and COVID-19. Please check back regularly as these resources will continually be updated.

    COVID-19 and Unemployment Insurance – FAQ for Employees
    COVID-19 and Unemployment Insurance – FAQ for Employers
    COVID-19 Scenarios


  • Waiting Period Week:
  • Effective March 15, 2020, the waiting period in the District of Columbia has been temporarily suspended. All claims filed after March 15, 2020 will no longer serve a waiting period week, and
    benefits will be paid beginning with the first week of eligibility.
  • Work Search Requirement:
  • Effective March 15, 2020, the Work Search requirement in the District of Columbia has been temporarily suspended for all claimants.
    You will no longer be presented with the work search question on the online continued claim form or over the telephone.

  • Able and Available Requirement:
  • The District has received authority to relax the able and available requirement for individuals affected by COVID-19.
    During this time, individuals will be considered able and available if you have previously demonstrated your ability to work and availability for work following
    your most recent separation from employment.
  • Reason for Separation:
  • If your employer has closed for business, reduced your hours or furloughed you due to COVID-19, you are considered laid off.
    Please note, there is an option you can choose on the initial clam application for benefits which allows you to specify “Laid Off Due to Lack of Work” as your reason for separation.

    Expansion of Unemployment Insurance Benefits under the New CARES Act (Updated April 25, 2020)

    Please read our CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions for more information about benefit eligibility, duration, and amounts.

    The federal government recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which includes an expansion of unemployment
    insurance benefits for District of Columbia workers.

    A summary of the expanded unemployment insurance programs offered through the provisions of the CARES Act is provided below:

    Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  • The PUA Application is now live: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Application
  • You MUST file for regular UI benefits before completing the PUA application. Please carefully review How to File a PUA Claim
  • PUA is effective February 2, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
  • Individuals who are typically ineligible for regular UI (i.e. independent contractors, gig workers, those with insufficient work history) that cannot work due to COVID-19 are potentially eligible
    for a maximum of 39 weeks of benefits, which includes $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

  • As of April 21, 2020, FPUC payments are being issued to all eligible claimants.
  • Effective March 29, 2020 through July 25, 2020.
  • $600 per week on top of current regular UI benefits, PEUC and PUA benefits.

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

  • Effective March 29, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
  • 13 additional weeks of UI benefits, plus $600 FPUC, although FPUC expires at the end of July 2020.
  • Benefit will be automatically updated if you qualify, are currently receiving benefits, and once our technical systems are modified.
  • We will update this web page, Facebook and Twitter when we have more information.

    DOES COVID-19 Webinar
    The Department of Employment Services will be hosting daily webinars to answer questions regarding unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    We will use this opportunity to instruct UI claimants on how to complete the weekly continued claim form for unemployment benefits and provide other important information
    related to unemployment claims. Additionally, at the end of the video, there is a live question and answer session with DOES staff regarding unemployment eligibility and compliance.

    Please follow the link below to register for a session:

    DOES COVID-19 Webinar

    All federal government employees who were laid off due to the change in administration

    must file their initial claims over the phone by calling
    (202) 724-7000 or online through this page

    If you did not work in the District of Columbia (or your duty station was not located within the District of Columbia) between
    October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016, you cannot file an unemployment insurance claim in the District of Columbia. Please contact the State where you worked during
    this period to file your unemployment claim.

    Upon filing an unemployment application, you will need to download a

    U.S. Bank ReliaCard
    When you file your initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits, we recommend that you enroll in Direct Deposit. Signing up for Direct Deposit is easy and will provide you
    with the fastest and most efficient way to receive your benefits. If you do not enroll in Direct Deposit while filing your initial claim, you will be automatically registered to receive a
    U.S. Bank ReliaCard. All benefit payments will be issued to this debit card unless you decide to enroll in Direct Deposit at a later time.

    Please read the U.S. Bank ReliaCard Pre-Acquisition Disclosure for the District of Columbia Unemployment Insurance Program by clicking on the link below. This disclosure contains
    details and conditions for all fees and services related to the U.S. Bank ReliaCard.

    U.S. Bank ReliaCard Pre-Acquisition Disclosure

    If you have questions about your U.S. Bank ReliaCard, please contact U.S. Bank directly at (855) 696-3729 or visit www.usbankreliacard.com

    Weekly Certifications
    After you file your initial Unemployment Insurance claim, you must submit weekly certifications and meet all eligibility requirements to receive benefits.
    Establishing your claim does not begin the issuance of payments to you. You must complete your weekly certification for each week in order to receive benefit payments.
    Weekly certification is the process used to verify that you were unemployed during the week and are eligible to receive a benefit payment. During the certification process,
    you will be asked a series of eligibility questions, including questions regarding earnings for the week.

    You must submit your weekly certification between 12:00 a.m. on Sunday and 11:59 p.m. on Saturday for the prior week. The earlier in the week you file,
    the earlier your certification will be processed. In order to have your certification processed on the same business day, you must submit the
    form before 6:00 p.m. If you file after that time, your certification will be processed on the next business day. Weekly certifications submitted
    over the weekend are processed the first business day of the following week. If you do not complete your certification within the timeframe listed above,
    you will not receive benefits for the week and you will be required to reopen your claim prior to receiving any further benefits.

    Please note that you cannot skip a week of certification and then certify a later week. All weeks must be certified in order, without a break. Even if you know you were not
    eligible during a specific week, you should certify for the week if you plan on certifying the following week.

    New Identity Verification Program
    Identity theft occurs every two seconds in America. To further protect the personal information of claimants from identity theft,
    the District of Columbia’s Office of Unemployment Compensation has implemented a new security feature into the online application process for unemployment benefits.
    During the application process, this security feature verifies personal data and authenticates a claimant’s identity by asking a series of multiple-choice questions
    based on information only the claimant can answer correctly.
    By adding this new security feature, an extra layer of protection against identity theft is provided, and a better,
    more secure customer experience is delivered to claimants while filing for unemployment benefits online.

    For detailed information regarding our Identity Verification and Authentication Program, please click the following link:
    UI Identity Verification and Authentication Program FAQ.

    To verify your identity, you must provide clear images/copies of your Government-Issued Photo I.D. and Social Security Card via email to [email protected]

    Disclaimer: The Department of Employment Services (DOES), in conjunction with the District’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) ensures all emails between DOES and each claimant are secure.

    *When emailing your identity documents, please provide the following information as the subject line: Identity Documents, the last 4 digits of your social security
    number and your legal first and last name.

    Monetary Penalties
    As federally mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor, effective October 1, 2014
    all unemployment compensation payments made on or after October 21, 2013 that were determined by
    the Agency to be fraudulent will be assessed a monetary penalty of 15%. This 15% penalty is to be paid
    in addition to the actual amount of the fraudulent overpayment.

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      Note: Tofile an Additional Claim or a ReOpen Claim, click on either Application or Unemployment Benefits above and the system will automatically route you to the proper pages.


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