DOES: Claimant Eligibility
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Claimant Eligibility

Any worker who is unemployed or working less than full-time may file an online claim at or calling (202) 724-7000 to file a claim on the telephone. 


Determining Eligibility

To be eligible for unemployment compensation, you must meet the following wage requirements:

  • You must have wages in at least two quarters of the base period.
  • You must have at least $1,300 in wages in one quarter of the base period.
  • You must have at least $1,950 in wages for the entire base period.
  • Your total base period wages must be at least one-and-a-half times the wages in your highest quarter, or be within $70 of that amount.
The base period is a 12 month period that is determined by the date yourfirst file your claim.  Use the following table to determine what would be the base period of your claim:
If your claim is filed during the months of Your base period is the 12 month period that ends the previous
January/February/March September 30
April/May/June December 31
July/August/September March 31
October/November/December June 30

Base period wages may be from DC employers, the DC Government, the Federal Government, and the US Military, or from employers in other states.

In addition to wage requirements, you must also meet the following requirements:
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • You must be available for work. This means that you must be ready and willing to accept work considered suitable for you because of your past training, education, or experience.
  • You must be physically able to work. You cannot collect benefits while you are sick, injured, or disabled.
  • You must make at least two job contacts each week.
  • You must make a personal and continuing effort each week to attain gainful employment, using methods that are customary for your occupation. (You may be asked by your Employment Services Center to demonstrate your work search activities, so you should keep a record of such efforts.)

Reasons for Disqualification

You may be disqualified from receiving benefits for any of the following reasons:

  • Voluntary leaving your last 30 day employer without good cause connected with the work 
  • Being discharged by your last 30 day employer for gross misconduct 
  • Being discharged by your last employer for other than gross misconduct
  • Refusing to apply for, or accept, suitable work without good cause
  • Participating in a labor dispute other than a lockout 
  • Not able to work, not available for work 
  • Failing to report as directed
  • Not authorized to work if a non-citizen 
  • Having a reasonable assurance of continuing employment if a school employee

Leaving the Military

If you are unemployed after leaving the US military, you must provide the "Member Requests Copy 4" of your form DD-214, "Certificate of Release of Discharge from Active Duty."