How To File For District of Columbia Unemployment

This page provides information on how to file for unemployment in District of Columbia. If you lost your job or your hours were reduced at no fault of your own, you may qualify to receive unemployment benefits in your state. Review the information below, if you still have questions or issues about these benefits, then we suggest to contact your local District of Columbia Unemployment Department for assistance. It is important that you file your new claim right away because District of Columbia unemployment insurance are not retroactive.

File unemployment claim with the District of Columbia

District of Columbia Unemployment Insurance claims for benefits can be filed online, by phone, or in person. To file online go to By phone, call 202-724-7000. In person, visit one of the District of Columbia American JobCenters.

Qualifying for unemployment insurance benefits

Any worker who is unemployed or who is working less than full-time may file a claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Claim applications may be filed online, by phone, or at any American Job Center located in the District of Columbia. To find a job center near you, District of Columbia Unemployment Office Locations.

Initial claims against the District of Columbia may also be filed at a State Workforce Agency in any of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These are called "interstate" claims. An example of an interstate claimant would be an individual who relocated to the state of New York after being laid off from employment in the District of Columbia. That individual would file an unemployment claim against the District of Columbia through a State Workforce Agency in the state of New York or online at

Unemployment eligibility requirements

To be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must meet the following wage requirements:

  • Work must have been performed in the District of Columbia within the base period
  • Wages must be reported in at least two quarters of the base period
  • At least $1,300 in wages must be reported in one quarter of the base period
  • At least $1,950 in wages must be reported for the entire base period

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 times the wages in the highest quarter or be within $70 of that amount. For example, an individual has total base period wages of $5,000, with $3,500 in the highest quarter and $500 in each of the other three quarters.This individual would not be eligible, because total base period wages of $5,000 is not at least 1.5 times the wages in the high quarter (1.5 x $3,500 = $5,250), nor is it within $70 of that amount.

In addition to the wage requirements, you must also meet the following requirements:

  • Must be unemployed through no fault of your own
  • Available for work, i.e. ready and willing to accept work considered suitable based on past training, education, or experience
  • Physically able to work, you may not collect benefits while sick, injured, or disabled
  • Actively seeking work, using methods that are customary for the occupation
  • Conduct two new job searches each week. Periodically, you may be required to report to an American Job Center to show proof of your work search activities
  • Not receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits from another state
Base period

The base period is a 12-month period that is determined by the date the claim is filed. The wage calculation used to determine the base period is defined as standard and alternative. All claims are initially computed for monetary eligibility using the standard base period. The standard base period uses the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the effective date a claim is filed. If a claim fails to meet the monetary wage requirement to establish a standard base period claim, an alternative base period calculation is used. An alternative base period calculation uses the last four completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the effective date from when a claim is filed. If neither base period calculation meets the wage requirements to establish a weekly benefit amount, a claim will not be monetarily eligible.

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

  • Social security number
  • Last 30-day employer's name, address, telephone number and dates of employment
  • Alien Registration Number if you are not a US Citizen
  • DD-214 Member Copy 4 if you are Ex-Military
  • Standard Form 8 or Standard Form 50 if you are a former federal employee
  • Severance Pay Information (only applicable if you did or will receive severance pay)
  • W-2 Forms and/or recent pay stubs
  • You may be required to provide a physical copy of your social security card and a government-issued photo identification card

Calculating weekly benefit amount

Your weekly benefit amount is calculated by taking the highest quarter of wages in your base period and dividing it by 26. All claimants are entitled to receive a standard twenty-six weeks of benefits. The maximum benefit amount you will receive is equal to twenty-six times your weekly benefit amount. The maximum weekly benefit amount you may receive is $432.

Benefit Year

You may collect benefits up to your maximum benefit amount for weeks that fall within your benefit year. This is the fifty-two week period that begins with the Sunday of the week in which you first filed your claim for benefits. You may not file a new unemployment claim against the District of Columbia until your current benefit year is ended. However, if you exhaust your benefits before your benefit year is over, you may be able to file a new claim against another state other than the District of Columbia if you have worked in that state and you meet that state's requirements for filing a claim.

File an appeal

If you are disqualified or held ineligible to receive benefits, you will receive in the mail a written Notice of Determination from a claims examiner that advises you why you were disqualified or held ineligible and the period covered by the determination. If you disagree with a determination, you have the right to file an appeal with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). Your request for an appeal hearing may be filed either by mail or in person at the following address:

Office of Administrative Hearings
One Judiciary Square
441 4th Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20001-2714

You must include a copy of the determination you are appealing, if mailing. You must bring with you a copy of the determination you are appealing, if filing in person. To file by fax, send a fax to 202-442-9451. You must attach a copy of the determination you are appealing. If you submit your request for appeal by mail, it must be postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service within fifteen (15) calendar days (including weekends and holidays) of the mailing date of the determination that you are appealing. If you report in person to file your appeal, you must similarly do so within the same 15 calendar days.