Civic News

DC is providing its own $1,200 stimulus checks to unemployed residents

The payments will be made available for 20,000 people who are already receiving aid via Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The District is acting as benefits are set to expire across the nation at the end of the month.

D.C. is providing new stimulus payments to help provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re not coming from Capitol Hill.

Over the next month, the local District government will provide $1,200 stimulus checks to about 20,000 D.C. residents, Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Monday.

The one-time payment is for a specific group: “This stimulus payment will be made to D.C. residents currently receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance,” Bowser said during a press conference, referring to the program created in response to the pandemic’s economic shock for folks who are not eligible for traditional unemployment insurance. To receive checks, folks must have already signed up for PUA by Nov. 30.

It’s a group that could include folks making their way in an entrepreneurial pursuits and the digital economy workers, such as gig workers, self-employed people and contractors.

Bowser said at a news conference that the District will use funding from the federal CARES Act, which was the first nationwide stimulus bill passed in March, to fund the payments. They’ll be administered by D.C.’s Department of Employment Services.

“With federal assistance getting ready to end later this month, and as the public health and economic crises continue, this stimulus payment is one way we can get immediate and much-needed relief to more than 20,000 Washingtonians,” Bowser said in a statement.

It comes as federally funded benefits could expire at the end of the year, if Congress doesn’t act. PUA is just one of a number of benefits that could run out. Federal legislators are in session for a shortened lame duck session prior to the holiday this week, and there’s talk of renewed efforts to pass a second stimulus measure. Extending unemployment benefits is just one of the issues that have been negotiated over, alongside small business relief and help for state and local governments.

While D.C. found funds, Bowser said that “short-term relief is not enough.”

“We urge our federal partners to pass legislation that recognizes the needs of millions of Americans who have made tremendous sacrifices and who are struggling to get by through no fault of their own,” she said.

People: Muriel Bowser

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