Latest News

Check out the latest news and updates from Councilmember Silverman.

A Freelancer's Guide to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

So, you need to apply for unemployment in DC as a freelancer or independent contractor…

Luckily, DC freelancer Lisa Kaneff has put together this excellent resource to guide freelancers through the process of applying for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. This easy-to-read blog post will walk readers through what the program does, who's eligible, and how to apply. It also includes several helpful tips for navigating the system with the least amount of headache. 

It is important to note, however, that PUA expires at the end of this year. We are hopeful that the Biden Administration will extend PUA or put another aid program in place for our workers not served by traditional Unemployment Insurance, and will share more information if that happens as soon as it becomes available.

Click here to read the full post.

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.

Newsletter: A Year of Difficult Decisions, Including Thanksgiving

Dear resident,

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.

Committee Activities Report, Council Period 23

During Council Period 23 (CP23), the Committee focused its work as always on jobs, workers’ rights, and District government personnel policy. The second half of the period was largely dominated by the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic that devastated the economy, producing massive job loss and introducing significant workplace health and safety issues. The impacts of these trends wove throughout the Committee work in the latter part of the period.

This report includes a detailed summary of the Committee's activities in CP23, as well as a list of policy recommendations made, and enacted legislation and measures approved in committee. 

Click here to download the full report.

Additional Meeting: November 19, 2020

On Thursday, November 19, at 10:00am, the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hold an Additional Meeting on the following measures:

  1. B23-90 Commission on Poverty in the District of Columbia Establishment Act of 2020
  2. B23-494 Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020
  3. B23-985 Unemployment Benefits Extension Amendment Act of 2020
  4. Council Period 23 Report of the Activities of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development

Silverman Statement on Schools Reopening Emergency Legislation

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:

Silverman Introduces Emergency Legislation to Increase Transparency and Collaboration on DCPS Safe Reopening

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 12, 2020 – Today, Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) introduced emergency legislation to increase transparency and collaboration in the development of Term 2 plans for the resumption of in-person learning at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). The COVID-19 DCPS Reopening Emergency Act of 2020 (“DCPS Reopening Act”) delineates guidelines for the expansion of in-person learning and teacher instruction during a public health emergency. Specifically, the bill outlines data and timelines that must be shared in advance, requires the Mayor to send any reopening plan to the Council for approval, and specifies that any plan must include the support of the workers in DCPS schools.

Unemployment Insurance Roundtable: December 9, 2020

On Wednesday, December 9 at 9:00am, Councilmember Elissa Silverman, Chairperson of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, will hold a public oversight roundtable before the Committee on the District’s unemployment compensation program. The roundtable will consider the challenges District workers continue to face in applying for unemployment insurance benefits under expanded programs available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tune in via DC Cable Channel 13 or online at

Click here for the Official Hearing Notice and here for the Final Agenda and Witness List.

Unemployment Insurance Hearing: November 16, 2020

On Monday, November 16 at 3:00pm, Councilmember Elissa Silverman, Chairperson of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, will hold a public hearing before the Committee on B23-985 the Unemployment Benefits Extension Amendment Act of 2020. This Act will amend the District of Columbia Unemployment Compensation Act to qualify District workers for additional weeks of unemployment insurance and pandemic unemployment assistance benefits under the Extended Benefits program. A companion emergency measure was passed by the Council on October 20, 2020 (B23-983), and a temporary measure (B23-984) passed its first vote on that date.

Find the official copy of the hearing announcement here. Find a draft agenda and witness list here

Those who wish to watch live can tune in online via the DC Council Channel or TV Channel 13.

Councilmember Silverman and Colleagues Recommend Active Community Engagement as DCPS Develops Reopening Plans

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 2, 2020 – Today, Councilmember Elissa Silverman, joined by Councilmembers Robert C. White, Jr., Brianne K. Nadeau, Charles Allen, and Trayon White, Sr., sent a letter to DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Lewis Ferebee expressing support for the decision to delay in-person reopening of our public schools and outlining recommendations for moving forward.