coronavirus

DC Addressing Frustrations With Online Unemployment Application

A sign instructs unemployment applicants in D.C. to file online.
NBCWashington

D.C. is addressing concerns with the online unemployment application.

Applicants say they are running into a snag with the online application requiring them to answer whether they have applied for two jobs before applying, despite that provision being removed by emergency legislation.

The District’s Office of Employment Services has been hit with a tidal wave of applications for unemployment benefits, as many of the people employed by D.C.’s restaurants, bars and retail stores are out of work due to restrictions forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bruce Joseph, who lost his job as a restaurant manager, said efforts to get an answer to the confusion caused by the job application question have been frustrating.

“Well on Tuesday, when I got my email, like, if I look at my payments history, it says zero, you are not eligible for payment on this claim,” he said. “From everybody else I talked, to it was because we checked no I did not look for a job.”

A spokesperson for the D.C. Department of Employment Services said the claims system is run by an outside vendor and will take a few days to update.

“Regardless of a claimant answering yes or no, the claim will not be denied,” she said.

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The Department of Employment Services said applications are currently being processed, individually, by its staff.

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