UPDATED – DC Approved for $300 Supplemental Unemployment Benefit

    Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.


9/8 Update: DC announced that FEMA approved their application. It is possible this will turn into a one-time $1800 additional payment early October to cover July 26-Sept 5th.

UPDATE: Today, August 31st, at the very end of a press conference, when asked, Mayor Bowser announced that DC WILL be applying for the FEMA supplemental $300 benefit. She said it won’t be technically hard to change the DC system to pay this out. “This is the only thing we got.” Like almost all states, DC doesn’t have the money to kick in an extra $100.

[8/26 Update: Although the Mayor and her administration have not said anything other than what’s below, and very disappointingly there’s been very little news coverage about this in DC aside from this blog post and a DCist article, I just want to be clear that they have not formally rejected the funds. I’ve heard they are still weighing the options but there’s no way to know that because that hasn’t been said publicly.]

On Monday, Mayor Bowser appeared to state that DC will not be (at least for now) seeking to augment DC’s unemployment benefits (maxed out at $444/week currently) with the recently authorized $300 “lost wages assistance” FEMA payment. Via a creative-to-some and illegal-to-seemingly-most-legal experts Presidential executive order, FEMA is authorized to issue grants of $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund to states for lost wage payments approximating unemployment payments. States can add another $100 on top if they have the monies but it seems that most can’t afford to do so..

In response to questioning from journalist Tom Sherwood, the Mayor stated:

We don’t fully appreciate the legality of the President’s actions at this point. We think that the House and Speaker Pelosi have presented a plan that works, not just for D.C. but the whole country. So we continue to call on the House and Senate to pass a bill that would provide unemployment relief for people who can’t go back to work, their jobs don’t exist, and they need that support…I don’t think we’ll get there [in providing an extra $100 states are authorized to provide along with the $300] because I think we’ll have a better plan that is approved in this negotiation that the Congress and the Administration is having.

So although the Mayor didn’t say no, it’s pretty clear that we won’t see DC immediately join other states in providing this money. The explanation was very thin and there was no fuller explanation about the legal consequences to DC (vs the President) if DC took the grant money and the order was illegal. Would DC need to pay  it back? Would anyone getting the extra funds need to pay it back? Thousands of struggling unemployed deserve a better answer.

Update: On Aug 18th, Councilmember Elisa Silverman’s office (who provides oversight over DC’s unemployment efforts tweeted a reply: ‘we need more info about DC’s financial ability to fulfill the match requirements, what administering the match would require on DC’s end, the fine print of any agreement with the feds, etc.” The Deputy Mayor/Chief of Staff John Falcicchio retweeted the remark. This is still not much of an answer (but there’s no match required).

To get the money, each state must apply for a grant from FEMA; payments would be made  retroactive to where the previous CARES Act $600 left off at end of July. However eligibility is narrower than normal unemployment insurance. The payments can only goes to anyone who is currently receiving at least $100/week in unemployment insurance (including pandemic emergency unemployment for 1099s); on annual basis in DC that means roughly anyone who makes $2,000- $10,400 in wages annually would not qualify. The unemployment has to be related to COVID-19 as well; the original $600 supplemental benefit went to everyone unemployed. States administer this via its unemployment system, adjudicate appeals using this, and are responsible for recovering improper lost wages. 5% of the grant award can be used for administrative costs. DOL issued additional guidance.

The FEMA supplemental payments continue until the first of these: 1) $44 billion of fund spent 2) Disaster Relief Fund balance reaches $25 billion 3) Congress passes law to provide unemployment benefits 4) Dec 27, 2020. Funding is based the projected amount of claimants/weekly and will be disbursed for first 3 weeks. Grant applications must be received by September 10, 2020. FEMA/DoL estimates payments will take 3 weeks given how long it takes for a state to adjust their system.

States that Have Been Approved by FEMA

  1. Arizona
  2. Colorado
  3. Idaho
  4. Iowa
  5. Louisiana
  6. Maryland
  7. Missouri
  8. Montana
  9. New Mexico
  10. Oklahoma
  11. Utah
  12. North Carolina
  13. Texas
  14. Michigan
  15. Kentucky ($400)
  16. Massachusetts
  17. Alabama
  18. California
  19. Indiana
  20. Rhode Island
  21. Alaska
  22. New York
  23. Georgia
  24. Vermont ($400)
  25. Mississippi
  26. Tennessee
  27. Washington (state)
  28. Pennsylvania
  29. New Hampshire
  30. Connecticut
  31. Arkansas
  32. Maine
  33. Virginia
  34. Ohio
  35. West Virginia ($400)
  36. Oregon
  37. Wyoming
  38. Hawaii
  39. Florida
  40. Minnesota
  41. Delaware
  42. North Dakota
  43. South Carolina
  44. Illinois
  45. Wisconsin
  46. New Jersey
  47. Kansas ($400)
  48. DC
  49. Nebraska

States That Have Applied/Are Applying

  1. Nevada (has applied)

States That Are Rejecting 

  1. South Dakota (confirmed)

26 responses to “UPDATED – DC Approved for $300 Supplemental Unemployment Benefit”

  1. I don’t understand the logistics of this.. do they not understand that we need help now? We are losing our homes…can’t feed our families…and afford to pay basic bills…we have to decide which bill gets paid and whatnot to pay..Any help is better than no help!!!

    1. What do the major and government care, they still are getting their money. I dd’t want to vote for her as Major anyway but she was only person on the ballot and it was the first time I voting and I’m 52 years old.

    2. The solution is drastic, but simple lets stop writing their paychecks, Stop Voting!!!!

  2. What a bunch of assholes.

    1. Bowser is on her knees to lil Mike bloomberg and in league with his NYC vendetta with ole Trump. Bowser is a disgrace, putting personal petty politics over people.

      1. Exactly. Most politicians valued politics and political affiliation than righteousness.

  3. SMH….I don’t understand, DC needs to apply for this for it’s workers that have been left behind by this pandemic. Seeing that MD has applied and surprisingly VA is now going to apply as well, I am hoping that adds some pressure to DC to join in. If not, we are just going to be left even further behind than our neighbors. It seems to sting a bit harder when I’m falling short on paying bills and know that the person next to me is getting twice as much. Even if we find out later that we have to pay it back, I am fine with that, we need the extra help now!

  4. Holy F , We need the $ !!
    Our Mayor is a true psychopath, says she does but absolutely has no concern for the people of DC.
    People have not got any of their federally funded PUA or FPUC from march/april due to city unable to or not prioritising updating “relatively simple” modifications to DOES (unemployment) .
    So people can’t get the money they already owed for 6 months and she is declining a lifeline for those that are drowning . Shame on you Mayor Bowser !!

    1. The people that update sites(computer programmers) are not he same that answer the phones/emails /etc.(customer service) at DOES ,We all know Customer service obviously very busy ,but the programmers ? It’s inexcusable and our city’s govt. needs to concentrate it’s resources to fix this problem first ! It’s a system wide failure by the city and people are paying for it . Might have something to do with Mayor not accepting our $300-$400 now ? Just saying

      1. This is most likely it. It would likely screw up things more to do this. But they need to explain it that way

  5. While mayor bowser play politics we suffer because she does not know how it feel to struggle how can she expect to keep citizens from committing crimes to support their families

  6. Holding out for what you and everyone knows is the best deal, but remember some people need money now.

  7. Mayor Bowser and DC Councillmember Elisa Silverman are committing financial murder to it’s DC residents and jobless workers who have been sickened by Covid-19 or have their jobs effected by Covid-19 and draw unemployment benefits from DC because they worked in DC by apparently rejecting help from Fema that is administering funds to states for the LWA memorandum passed by President Trump on August 8, 2020. President Trump only took action because Congressional leaders couldn’t and still haven’t provided a Covid-19 economic stimulus package while the American People remain victims of Covid-19 and drowning in a pool of financial poverty.

    1. If Bowser questions the legality of the orders, then she should sue to block the relief that has already been approved for the unemployed n 35 states.

  8. someone should ask them who are they punishing that way? president or people of DC. People can not pay their rent, bill, food.. People need money and they need now!

  9. The DC unemployed workers need relief now and deserve it. Like all other states unemployed workers, our lifeline of support ended 5 weeks ago. We deserve better. Ignoring those of us in DC who lost our jobs at no fault of our own is unconscionable and a blatant insult. We paid taxes just like everyone else. We deserve better. We respectfully request that the mayor stop putting the political agenda ahead of the needs of the American people who are in need of financial support.

    1. Unemployment payouts are a complicated percentage of actual wages/salary. But roughly 50% of your salary if you make the same amount roughly a week is your unemployment payout. People who make $200/week normally get about $100/week in unemployment. People who make less than $40/week usually don’t qualify for unemployment. Multiple those figures by 52 weeks for a rough figure

  10. Great post, but some of tge math is wrong and can cause people anxiety. $100 a week minimum translares to about $4800 which is below $10k, for those affected, so the annual amount you put wouldn’t make valid sense. Where are you seeing that official # range??

  11. There’s no good reason for DC to be “on the fence.” Stimulus negotiations have stalled (with no compromise in sight) and the unemployed in DC need help NOW. The FEMA $300 supplement for a short period is better than nothing and the large majority of states have applied. Clearly the legality of the EO isn’t an issue anymore. Whether it’s logistics, politics, outdated tech or something else, Mayor Bowser should step up, do her job and accept help where it’s available. I encourage folks to write the Mayor’s office and Councilmember Silverman directly to urge them to apply.

    1. Agreed 💯! This is ridiculous.

  12. Bowser gained the national spotlight when she painted the BLM motto on the street, and she seems to be running with it. She achieved the pinnacle of DC politics by becoming mayor. I had not realized that they had paved over the “Defund the Police” message, if that is true. Disgusting, though, that she seems to be more interested in currying favor with national party leaders, rather than looking out for the welfare of her own constituency. People need the money, and there is no guaranty that Nancy Pelosi will reach a deal that makes up for it, or that they will make a special provision for DC if they end up being the only jurisdiction that did not apply for the aid. More than 30 states have applied for it, and she thinks DC is above that? Legal or not, the executive orders will stand unless someone sues to block them.

  13. It’s a sad that our taxes pay you and you and your staff continue to get paid or even still have a job and get a full check. While the people of DC suffer It’s been a month now and all you keep saying is we have a better plan , where is it We the people of Washington DC deserve much better then this. We pay more taxes then any other state and Ms Norton don’t even have a strong voice for us ( we love her ) We need help ASAP. Maybe we need to look into not paying federal taxes or state taxes , we not a state and no strong voice in the house We should find away to start a City Tax that sounds better for the hard working people of Washington DC. I was born in the great city in 1963 So I’ve seen a little and this make no sense. It strongly look like you all are trying to run us out from our city.

  14. Ignorance is comes in all colors. Racist comments and jesters aren’t the answer. I can understand why you’re upset. But it’s not just Mayor Bowser. Mayour Bowser doesn’t have the political power in making a decision without the permission of Elisa Silverman, Councillmember at large. Voting has for many decades has served as a means for mankind to uphold and execute human rights that will benefit all peoples. Well, if you honestly look around, have Voting and political involvement worked? Yes, I must admit, we’ve all benefitted from certain laws proposed by our political leaders, however much remains unaccomplished. I would like to leave you with a question, and ask that you really give it a lot of thought, and when you do, please reply to me with your honest heart felt answer. What do you think about the future? If I don’t hear back from you, its ok. But it’s been my pleasure of speaking with you through this post.

  15. #HELPDC This is Mayor Bowser’s Job!!! They play politics at the expense of the American people. Thye have their jobs, healthcare…WTF why have an executive order if the people are not benefiting from it! This whole mess breaks my heart. But the beauty here is when God releases this money to us, it will be retroactive!!!! Then maybe we can BREATh!!!!

  16. #HELPDC This is Mayor Bowser’s Job!!! They play politics at the expense of the American people. They have their jobs, healthcare…WTF why have an executive order if the people are not benefitting from it! This whole mess breaks my heart. But the beauty here is when God releases this money to us, it will be retroactive!!!! Then maybe we can BREATH!!!!!!!!

  17. D.C. residents will never forget how Mayor Bowser let people lose their homes, families go hungry, she will never get voted to another office in history. I’m a Biden supporter but understand why the president calls her stupid and tells her to do her job……

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