After months of advocacy with the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, a coalition of unemployed workers, union representatives, and advocates returned to the D.C. Council last week to demand quick passage of legislation to increase unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. “Being unemployed is a terrible position to be in because it sends you into a state of fear and alarm once you realize you have no income to depend on and you are one step from being homeless,” testified DC resident Vivian Mercer (right). “We urge this Council to strongly consider increasing the maximum weekly benefit amount to modernize the UI program,” testified Carlos Jimenez, Executive Director of the Metro Washington Council. “We need to do everything we can to ensure that there is increased stability for workers and the local economy.” The Metro Council’s Claimant Advocacy Program has worked closely with allies to push for an increase in unemployment benefits; DC’s $359 maximum weekly benefit is one of the lowest in the nation. “I hope DC will raise benefits to help people like me,” testified Ward 5 resident Druzilla Green. “We have to find a way for people to have dignity and provide for their families while they are looking for employment.” Click here for the Legal Aid Society’s blog post.