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Policy Changes and Supplemental UI Program

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, which modified and extended unemployment benefits, was signed on March 11, 2021. ARPA included the following federal programs:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) was for individuals who are typically ineligible for traditional UI, including self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and those with insufficient work history.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provided additional benefits to individuals who have exhausted their traditional UI claim.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provided an additional $300 weekly amount to eligible claimants.
  • Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) provided a $100 weekly supplement to eligible individuals with an annual net self-employment income of at least $5,000. 

These federal programs and benefits expired on September 4, 2021. Please read the descriptions of expired federal unemployment benefits or view the End of Benefits FAQs to learn more about the conclusion of these programs.

WHY DID THESE FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAMS END? 

Federal law mandated that temporary unemployment benefits offered through the American Rescue Plan Act would expire on September 4, 2021.  

This is federal policy from the U.S. Department of Labor and is implemented by D.C. Department of Employment Services.  

Traditional unemployment insurance benefits will continue to be paid to claimants who are eligible.

EXTENDED BENEFITS (EB) PROGRAM

Federal funding for the Extended Benefits (EB) program, authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), expired the week ending September 11, 2021. The EB program provided up to 13 additional weeks of UI payments to claimants who met the filing requirements. DC leadership determined when this program was in effect based on the District’s unemployment rate.

  • When EB was available, claimants must have exhausted regular UI benefits and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits.
  • The EB weekly benefit amount (WBA) was the same as the amount received on the regular UI claim and PEUC claim.
  • EB payments included the $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit for eligible weeks between December 27, 2020, and September 11, 2021.

Please view the Extended Benefits Fact Sheet to learn more details about the program.

RETROACTIVE BENEFIT PAYMENTS

  • U.S Department of Labor directs states to continue taking new applications for PUA for 30 days after the termination or expiration.  Claimants who believe that they were eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), for weeks of unemployment ending between December 12, 2020 through September 4, 2021, may still apply for PUA until October 6, 2021.
  • After September 4, 2021, D.C. Department of Employment Services will continue to process claims that were filed timely and include periods of unemployment that ended on or before September 4, 2021.  As part of this processing, claimants who are found eligible will receive benefits for properly reported weeks, even if DOES determines eligibility after September 4, 2021.  Eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Please view the Retroactive Benefits Overview to learn more.

TAX RELIEF FOR CLAIMANTS

For the 2020 tax year, the ARPA waived federal taxes on unemployment insurance benefits (up to $10,200 for individuals and up to $20,400 for married couples filing jointly, if each spouse received UI benefits) for households with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. More information about this waiver will be provided when DOES receives more information from the government.

TAX RELIEF FOR EMPLOYERS

The period for emergency unemployment relief for government agencies and nonprofit organizations expired September 4, 2021. Additionally, the amount of emergency relief for weeks of unemployment that occurred after March 31, 2021, had an increase of 50 percent of compensation paid to 75 percent.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING ANNOUNCED BY MAYOR BOWSER

On February 8, Mayor Bowser announced an additional $11 million in funding for DOES. The funds are being used to hire more staff and improve systems that help manage UI programs. DOES continues to work hard to ensure the agency is meeting community needs and rising to the challenge of more efficiently serving District workers.