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  • Writer's pictureTiffani Johnson

Federal Unemployment Benefits


The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia is reaching out to community organizations to spread the word about temporary federal unemployment benefits that are only available through the end of July, to encourage anyone who may be eligible to apply.

We also wanted to make you aware of information about the free legal services and resources Legal Aid provides to low-income D.C. residents.

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Unemployment Insurance

Anyone eligible for regular unemployment benefits (usually people who worked for an employer and lost their job or had their hours cut) and for the new, temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA (gig workers, independent contractors, self-employed people, and others who lost their job or income due to COVID), is also eligible for an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits until the week of July 25. For people eligible for PUA, the extra $600 is retroactive back to the beginning of April or when the worker lost their job, whichever came later.

Anyone who thinks they may be eligible for regular UI or PUA should apply before the end of July to make sure they can access all of the benefits available to them. Feel free to print out Legal Aid’s flyer with more information on what the programs are, how to apply, and who to contact with questions. Please distribute to your clients, constituents, or networks broadly.

Legal Aid COVID-19 Resources

We know people have a lot of questions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps because they are having a hard time accessing benefits, their housing has become unstable, they are experiencing conflict with or abuse from family or intimate partners, or they simply want to know their rights under the many new emergency laws that have been enacted.

There are three primary ways that we are reaching out to make sure that members of our community know what rights they have and services that are available to them.

1. Virtual Know Your Rights Presentations. Legal Aid can conduct virtual presentations covering the most important COVID-19-related information people should know in the legal issue areas we serve: public benefits (including unemployment and federal stimulus payments), family law and domestic violence, housing law, foreclosure prevention, debt collection, and immigration law (as it interacts with the other issue areas). If you are interested in having Legal Aid attorneys present to your staff on one or more of these issue areas, please email Ellen Peterson at

2. FAQs. You can also visit our website to find helpful FAQs and other information on how COVID has affected each of these legal issue areas. Spanish and Amharic translations of these materials are forthcoming.

3. Legal Advice or Assistance. If you have clients who are in need of legal advice, you can always direct them to call our intake hotline, (202) 628-1161, to start an intake with us, or to visit our website,, where we have links to legal and non-legal information and resources.

Please do not hesitate to contact Ellen Peterson if you have any questions or would like to discuss how Legal Aid can provide additional support for our mutual client community during these challenging times.

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