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.

According to DOES, approximately 40,000 workers have filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which allows workers to receive a benefit similar to Unemployment Insurance (UI), and is set to expire on Dec. 26.  Other federally-funded programs under the CARES Act are also scheduled to end Dec. 26, including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance (PEUC). PEUC, which was also created as a response to the pandemic, extends traditional UI for an additional 13 weeks. In public testimony, many UI claimants expressed difficulty extending their weekly benefits with PEUC.

Director Morris-Hughes is also expected to respond to specific advance questions from the Committee, which reflect the most common questions from DC workers. 

Advance questions sent by the Councilmember and Committee to DOES focus on:

  • PUA and the $1,200 PUA stimulus payment
  • PEUC troubleshooting
  • Expiration of Extended Benefit Tier 2 and next steps for workers
  • DOES’ outreach schedule to inform District workers of changes to programs, updates, or opportunities.

“I hope that Congress takes action in the next 10 days, but I want to make sure claimants are aware of the possibility PUA, PEUC, and other federally-funded CARES Act money could evaporate the day after Christmas,” Silverman said. “That makes the $1,200 DC supplemental payment for PUA claimants even more important, and I know workers will want to know when to expect it.”

The full text of the letter and questions sent to DOES in advance of this roundtable can be found here. The official meeting notice can be found here.