Information on Washington, D.C. Unemployment Benefits

Aerial view of Washington DC

Cameron Davidson

The Washington, D.C. unemployment insurance program provides temporary compensation to individuals who were previously employed in the District of Columbia, based on guidelines established by federal law. The program is administered by the Department of Employment Services (DOES).

Documents and ID

To begin the process to file for DC unemployment benefits, you will need the following information:

  • Social security number
  • Most recent employer’s name, address, telephone number, and dates of employment
  • Alien Registration Number if you are not a US Citizen
  • DD214 if you are Ex-Military
  • Standard Form 8 or Standard Form 50 if you are a former federal employee
  • Severance pay Information

Filing a Claim

DC Unemployment claims can be filed online, by phone, and in person.

  • Online:
  • By phone: (202) 724-7000 or (877) 319-7346
  • In person: One-Stop Career Centers at 1500 Franklin Street, NE and 2626 Naylor Road, SE


To receive benefits, you must be unemployed through no fault of your own and be willing and able to work. You must file reports that show you are actively looking for work on a regular basis and you must have been paid wages by an insured employer and meet the eligibility criteria listed below. Note: The base period is a 12-month period that is determined by the date you first file your claim.

  • You must have wages in at least two quarters of the base period.
  • You must have at least $1,300 in wages in one quarter of the base period.
  • You must have at least $1,950 in wages for the entire base period.
  • Your total base period wages must be at least one-and-a-half times the wages in your highest quarter or be within $70 of that amount.
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • You must be physically able to work; you may not collect benefits while sick, injured, or disabled.
  • You must be actively​ seeking work and periodically may be required to show proof of your work search activities.

You are only eligible to receive unemployment benefits from DC for wages earned in DC. If you worked in another state, you can file for benefits from that state.

When to File

Don't wait! File immediately. The sooner you file, the sooner you'll receive the benefits that are available to you.


Benefits are based on an individual's prior earnings. The minimum is $59 per week and the maximum is $425 per week (effective October 2, 2016). The amount is calculated based on your wages in the quarter of the base period with the highest wages.

Special Circumstances

If you receive any income while you are unemployed, the amount you earn will be deducted from your unemployment payments. If you are receiving Social Security payments, a pension, annuity, or retirement pay, your weekly benefit amount may be subject to a deduction as well.

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