Washington, DC

“Dear PoPville,

After losing my DC retail manager job due to COVID-19 closures, I filed for unemployment insurance (UI) in DC in mid-March on the DOES website, and was approved quite quickly, and have continued to file every week for UI every week since mid-March.

With the CARES Act passed by Congress at the end of March, an additional $600 per week was to be added to whatever people qualified for with UI. My original UI amount was $200; I still have a part-time job based in Maryland that I can do remotely, and with that pay I make just too much to receive for any UI money in DC. But according to these DOES calculations  (see question 8), with the additional $600, I should get a total of $800 in UI, and after subtracting what I make with my Maryland job and taxes on UI, I should get around $400.

Yet, I continue to receive messages on my claims that I make too much to qualify for any UI money. I emailed DOES on April 2 to get clarifications about the situation (after being on hold with them for 7 hours and never getting through). I emailed them again 20 days later after no response, got an automatic reply saying they would respond in 72 hours. That times passes with no answer, so I send a third email, this time copying my Councilmember’s constituent services to see if they could help. The constituent services responded quickly and looked into things. This morning I finally got this email from DOES:

“Thank you for contacting DOES. Apologies for the delayed response.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is an emergency program established by the CARES Act to increase unemployment benefits for Americans who are out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the FPUC program, eligible people who collect certain unemployment insurance benefits–including regular unemployment compensation–will get an extra $600 in federal benefits each week through July 31, 2020.

The additional $600 was paid out beginning in April 2020 once Congress passed the bill. The $600 was not active in March. As such, the $600 would/will not be paid out for March weeks.

If you are requesting back weeks, please note, we are currently working diligently and expeditiously to get all claimants paid. Once completed, we will then review those requests for back weeks.”

To me, this email makes it sound like the additional $600 is being applied, but it’s still not being reflected in my claims (the DOES website says it started to apply April 21, and the additional $600 would be paid March 29 through July 25). This email also makes it sound like we have to request it to be back paid, even though the DC City Administrator made it sound like that should also be automatic.

So ultimately, my question is: has anyone gotten their additional $600 in UI for DC, or are they also having the same issues?”

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