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Overview of UI Benefits

WHAT ARE THE WAGE REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE UI?

To receive unemployment benefits, you must earn a certain amount of income within a 12-month period called the base period. The base period is determined by the date you filed your initial claim for benefits.

If the first full week of your claim is in the month of:

Your base period is the 12 months that ended on the previous:

January, February, or March

September 30

April, May, or June

December 31

July, August, or September

March 31

October, November, or December

June 30

 

For example, if the first full week of your claim is on March 1, 2021, then your base period is October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020.

You must meet the following wage requirements to be eligible for UI:

  • You made at least $1,300 in wages in one quarter of the base period;
  • You must have wages in at least two quarters of the base period;
  • You must have earned at least $1,950 in wages for the entire base period; and
  • The total amount you earned during the base period must be at least one- and one-half (1.5) times the wages in your highest quarter or be within $70 of that amount.
     

Base period wages may be from District employers, the District Government, the Federal Government, the U.S. Military, or employers in other states.

SAMPLE SCENARIO: Tom lost his job as a plumber because his company had to downsize due to the pandemic. If Tom’s first full week of benefit claim is the week of July 5, 2021, then his 12-month base period is April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.

Based on the chart below, Tom would be able to receive unemployment benefits. He meets the wage requirements.

Base Period

Quarter 1

(April – June 2020)

Quarter 2

(July – September 2020)

Total wages: $2,100

Wages: $700

Wages: $1,400

$1,400 x 1.5 = $2,100

Weekly benefit amount based on formula + $300 (FPUC)

HOW MUCH MONEY DO I RECEIVE WITH UI?

The amount of money you receive as your weekly benefit is based on the highest amount of money you earned in one quarter during the base period. All claimants can receive a standard 26 weeks of benefits. The maximum weekly benefit amount you may receive is $444.

You may collect benefits up to your maximum benefit amount for weeks that fall within your benefit year. Your benefit year is the 52-week period that begins with the Sunday of the week when you first filed your claim for benefits.

You may not file a new unemployment claim until your current benefit year has ended. However, if you use up your benefits before your benefit year is over, you may be able to file a new claim in another state if you have worked in that state and you meet that state’s requirements for filing a claim.

WHEN WILL I RECEIVE MY FIRST CLAIM PAYMENT?

Within a week after you file your initial claim, you should receive a Notice of Monetary Determination by mail.

This notice will let you know:

  • If you made enough wages to get unemployment benefits;
  • What your weekly benefit amount will be;
  • What your maximum benefit amount will be;
  • The date your benefits will end;
  • The base period of your claim; and
  • Which wages were used to calculate your benefits.

As of September 5, 2021, under District law, there is a one-week waiting period before benefits are paid.  The waiting period is the first week for which you would otherwise be eligible.  Generally, this is the first week of your claim.  No payment is made during the waiting period.  If you are denied from receiving benefits, the notice will show which requirement you did not meet.

WHAT WOULD DISQUALIFY ME FROM RECEIVING BENEFITS?

You may be disqualified from receiving benefits if you:

  • Voluntarily left your job without good cause
  • Were fired from your job for any type of misconduct
  • Refused to apply for or accept suitable work without good cause
  • Participated in a labor dispute other than a lockout
  • Were unable to work or unavailable for work
  • Failed to report wages as directed
  • Did not participate in designated reemployment services
  • Did not attend a training course recommended by the Department of Employment Services
  • Are not authorized to work in the United States

A list of exceptions to disqualifications and ineligibilities can be found in the Claimant’s Rights and Responsibilities Handbook (page 8).

If you are disqualified to receive benefits, you will be mailed a written Notice of Determination from a claims examiner to inform you why you were disqualified, and the period covered by the decision. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to file an appeal with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).