News Release: Silverman Introduces Emergency Legislation to Protect Family Leave Benefit Payments to DC Workers
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2, 2021 – D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) introduced emergency legislation this week to protect paid family leave benefits to District workers who also hold short-term disability insurance plans. Since D.C.’s groundbreaking Universal Paid Leave program started paying benefits to workers in July 2020, some District insurance companies have been subtracting the money workers expect to receive from the D.C. paid leave program from the amount they pay out to claimants who have short-term disability policies.
I’m continuing with the question and answer format in this newsletter. Topics include: DCPS' announcement that it would adopt the CDC guidance of three-feet social distancing for students; the DC statehood hearing in the House of Representatives; updates on unemployment compensation; vaccines; and, rental assistance.
This week marked the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, and DC declaring a public health emergency. While we need to remain vigilant to curb the virus -- wearing our masks, keeping our social distance, etc. -- there’s a lot of new information and new protocols being put in place that have raised many questions. If you’re like me, reading dense information has gotten, well, more difficult in the last year. For upcoming weeks, I’m going to put our newsletter in a question and answer format to make it scannable and easy to read.
Topics I’ll cover this week: vaccine distribution; how Biden’s Rescue Package helps DC workers, residents, and businesses; and when should I file taxes? Next week I’ll Q & A more on unemployment insurance, rental assistance, and public schools, so send me questions you have.
This has been a week of highs and lows.
It was so hopeful and affirming to see the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrive at DC hospitals! Per our Vaccination Plan, thousands of essential healthcare workers will receive the first of two vaccine shots in upcoming days! Initial distribution of the vaccine is rejuvenating, even though the risk of COVID transmission remains dangerously high in the challenging winter months ahead. There was further good news that both Maryland and Virginia have agreed to contribute thousands of vaccine doses to DC hospitals given these institutions are regional and doses were distributed to states based on residential population; a DC Health survey estimates approximately 75 percent of essential healthcare workers employed in DC live outside DC.
Press Release: Department of Employment Services Director to Testify on New DC Stimulus and Potential End of Federal Funding for PUA, UI Extensions
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 15, 2020 – Unless Congress takes action, significant parts of the pandemic-related safety net created by the federal CARES Act will come to an end the day after Christmas. Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) Director Unique Morris-Hughes will testify before the DC Council about what claimants can expect if federal funding for certain unemployment compensation programs does not extend beyond Dec. 26. The Director will also explain who will receive DC’s new $1,200 economic stimulus payment and when it will likely arrive, as well as talk about other issues with unemployment compensation and benefit extensions.
Silverman Introduces Revised DCPS Reopening Bill
Incorporating feedback from parents, teachers, and other DCPS stakeholders, bill focuses on transparency and collaboration while reopening schools safely
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 14, 2020 – Recognizing that returning students to in-person classroom learning requires collaboration and trust among all those involved with DC Public Schools (DCPS), Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) released a revised version of the “Pandemic Learning Emergency Act of 2020” for consideration at tomorrow’s D.C. Council legislative meeting. The goal of the bill is to shift the DCPS reopening process from one that has been disjointed, chaotic, and confusing to a process that is cooperative and transparent.
Dear Director Morris-Hughes:
Yesterday’s announcement by Mayor Bowser of a $1,200 supplemental payment to some of our unemployed workers was great news, and I was glad to see you at the press conference to explain how the payment will work. Still, there are many questions about who will get the money and when. As you know, this is a scary time for our unemployment claimants, because federal CARES Act funding will end in less than three weeks. If Congress doesn’t take action, the program that has provided weekly checks for an estimated 40,000 DC independent contractors and gig workers will evaporate, as well as money to extend traditional unemployment insurance for another 120,000 DC workers.
[Click here for a PDF of the letter or continue reading below]
Release: Silverman Continues Push for Collaboration and Transparency with DCPS During Pandemic Learning
Silverman Continues Push for Collaboration and Transparency with DCPS During Pandemic Learning
WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 25, 2020 – The District of Columbia faces challenging decisions on how best to educate our DC Public Schools (DCPS) students in the coronavirus pandemic. Leaders need to weigh the public health and safety of the entire DCPS community alongside the best environment for learning and social-emotional development. These decisions need to be made collaboratively and transparently, with the trust and confidence of everyone involved in our schools: students, parents, teachers, nurses, teacher aides and paraprofessionals, principals, cafeteria staff, and custodial workers.
I wish you a happy and COVID-safe Thanksgiving celebration! For me, that means not hosting my extended family’s annual get-together given advice from our public health professionals to be indoors only with those in your immediate household. I will also miss my tradition of getting pre-turkey exercise with friends at one of the area’s charity turkey trots! I’ve decided instead to create my own 5K run (walk) to benefit some local nonprofits; I encourage other annual turkey trotters to consider doing the same for local groups of your choice, which are helping fill major safety net gaps at this time.
Colder weather has brought on the predicted uptick in COVID+ cases in the District. Yesterday, Mayor Bowser announced additional restrictions (visual presentation here) to halt community spread of the virus, including reducing indoor restaurant seating capacity to 25 percent by Dec. 14; shutting down all live music venues and indoor gym classes immediately; limiting indoor worship services to 50 people; and keeping all indoor gatherings at 10 people or less.
WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 16, 2020 – Last week, Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) introduced the COVID-19 DCPS Reopening Emergency Act of 2020, which would establish clear data, information, and timetables needed to be in place to return to the classroom. Upon learning that the bill will not be on this Tuesday's legislative agenda, the Councilmember released the following statement: