unemployment benefits

DC Has Not Yet Applied for Additional Unemployment Money

NBC Universal, Inc.

People collecting unemployment insurance in the D.C. region soon will begin seeing that extra $300 President Donald Trump promised — some sooner than others.

Maryland and Virginia have been approved for the extra money, but D.C. is one of the few jurisdictions in the country that hasn’t applied for the extra funds yet.

Unemployment checks got a lot smaller a month ago when the additional $600 per week in federal money ran out. Trump promised to restore half of that.

Since Aug. 15, 41 states have been approved for the additional $300 per week, including Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. People receiving unemployment benefits in those states will start seeing the extra money in the next three to four weeks and it will be retroactive to August.

“The District of Columbia will be advancing an application to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency),” D.C. Department of Employment Services Director Unique Morris-Hughes said. “We anticipate advancing the application within the week or so.”

Once the District applies and is approved, it will take an additional three to four weeks before D.C will be able to start sending out the additional funds, which also will be retroactive.

D.C. officials delayed applying for the federal money to be sure accepting the money wouldn’t have a negative impact on the unemployment insurance trust fund, which is where the local money for those checks comes from.

Morris-Hughes was unable to comment on how long the fund can continue to meet demand for unemployment benefits.

“It’s important for people to know that we’re keeping a watchful eye, and we’re always, always considering the balance of the fund,” she said.

D.C.’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer said he’s doing an analysis of the fund and will have his recommendations in October. The D.C. Council is considering a tax increase to keep the fund solvent.

An official with the Virginia Employment Commission said if the current volume of claims remains, the state may have to begin borrowing from the federal government in October.

You have to receive at least $100 a week in unemployment insurance to qualify, and in the vast majority of cases, those already receiving an unemployment check won’t have to do anything to start getting the extra money.

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