Written by Zack Hill

Apr 30


New Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Now Available in the District

Update (5/1/20): Currently, workers can only apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) by using the District’s website. The District is not able to accept phone applications for PUA and is not yet offering an online application for non-English speakers. Legal Aid is advocating for the District to make the PUA application accessible for everyone, and Legal Aid lawyers are helping workers who have a hard time accessing the PUA application. Anyone seeking Legal Aid’s assistance can contact us at (202) 628-1161.

As of April 24, 2020, thousands of D.C. workers who have been historically excluded from standard unemployment benefits can now apply for and receive benefits if they can prove a COVID-19 related job loss or reduction in income. This expansion to unemployment benefits, known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), covers:

  • Gig-workers (Lyft, Uber, etc),
  • Self-employed workers,
  • Workers who earn too little to normally qualify for unemployment, and
  • Any workers unavailable for work due to COVID-19 (such as primary caretakers of daycare or school-aged children who cannot work due to childcare responsibilities).

Read more →

Dec 18


It’s Time to End the Paradoxical Punishment of License Suspensions

Imagine learning one day that the DMV has suspended your license because you’ve been unable to pay a several thousand dollar civil judgment. You had hoped to save enough to pay this court debt but, as a low-income worker, you often struggle to put food on the table for your family and keep the lights on. You’re now in a tough bind. If you rely on your car to get to work, run errands, take your children to the doctor, etc., you now have to choose between driving illegally or losing your job and becoming unable to care for your family. If you don’t rely on a car to get to work, it may be difficult to find and maintain the rare job that will hire you without a valid license. Either way, the result of this punitive debt collection practice is that you’ll likely struggle to make ends meet and find it even more difficult to pay the original debt that caused this problem. Read more →