Code of the District of Columbia

§ 51–113. Administration of provisions of subchapter; disclosure of information.

*NOTE: This section includes amendments by temporary legislation that will expire on October 13, 2022. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation, click this link: Permanent Version.*

(a) The Director is hereby authorized and directed to administer the provisions of this subchapter. The Director is further authorized to employ such officers, examiners, accountants, attorneys, experts, agents, and other persons, and to make such expenditures as may be necessary to administer this subchapter, and to authorize any such person to do any act or acts which could lawfully be done by the Director. The Council of the District of Columbia may, in its discretion, require bond from any employees of the Director engaged in carrying out the provisions of this subchapter.

(b)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Director is authorized to prescribe all regulations which may be necessary to implement this subchapter.

(2) Prior to the transmission of proposed regulations to the Council, the Director shall submit all proposed regulations to the Board for approval. The proposed regulations will be deemed approved and transmitted to the Council if the Board does not adopt a resolution of disapproval within 35 calendar days of the Board’s receipt of the proposed regulations.

(3) The Director shall be responsible for establishing rules pertaining to the alternative base period, defined in § 51-101(6)(B), which shall be published no later than 180 days following October 1, 2002, and shall include rules for:

(A) Obtaining wage information, if wage information for most recently completed calendar quarter is not available to the Department of Employment Services from regular quarterly reports or wage information that is systematically accessible; and

(B) Notifying claimants of alternative base period eligibility.

(c) The Mayor shall each year, not later than May 1st, submit to Council a report covering the administration and operation of this subchapter during the preceding calendar year, and containing such recommendations as the Mayor wishes to make.

(d)(1) The Director shall, whenever it believes that a change in the contribution or benefit rates is necessary to protect the solvency of the Fund, at once recommend such change to Council of the District of Columbia if in session.

(2) By January 1, 1992, the Mayor shall submit to the Council a report designed to provide sufficient reserves in the Fund on December 30th of each year to meet unemployment benefit payments for the forthcoming calendar year.

(3) By October 15th of each year following March 16, 1988, the Mayor shall submit to the Council an annual status report on the Fund. The report shall include information on:

(A) The computation of the employer tax rate to be used for the forthcoming calendar year; and

(B) A review of the prior 2 years and the current year, a forecast of the solvency of the Fund based on provisions of § 51-103(c)(4)(B)(ii) for the next 5 years, and the statistical and economic assumptions upon which the forecast is based.

(e)(1) In the administration of this subchapter, the Director shall cooperate with the Department of Labor to the fullest extent consistent with the provisions of this subchapter, and shall take such action, through the adoption of appropriate rules, regulations, administrative methods, and standards, as may be necessary to secure to the District and its citizens all advantages available under the provisions of the Social Security Act that relate to unemployment compensation, the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970, or other Manpower Acts.

(2) In the administration of the provisions in § 51-107(g), which are enacted to conform with the requirements of the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970, the Director shall take such action as may be necessary:

(A) To ensure that the provisions are so interpreted and applied as to meet the requirements of such federal Act as interpreted by the Department of Labor; and

(B) To secure to the District the full reimbursement of the federal share of extended and regular benefits paid under this subchapter that are reimbursable under the federal Act.

(f)(1) Except as hereinafter otherwise provided, information obtained from any employing unit or individual pursuant to the administration of this chapter and determinations as to the benefit rights of any individual shall be held confidential and shall not be disclosed or be open to public inspection in any manner, whether by subpoena or otherwise, revealing the individual's or employing unit's identity. Any claimant (or his or her legal representative) shall be supplied with information from the records of the division, to the extent necessary for the proper presentation of his claim in any proceeding under this chapter with respect thereto.

(2)(A) The Director shall promptly disclose information otherwise protected pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection upon the request of a Councilmember for use in the performance of the Councilmember's official duties, including conducting all aspects of program and agency oversight and constituent services, when:

(i) If the information is confidential unemployment compensation information, the Councilmember has:

(I) If the Councilmember is performing constituent services, provided the Director with reasonable evidence that the individual or employing unit has authorized such disclosure to the Councilmember and, if the disclosure is to be ongoing and a release pursuant to 20 CFR § 603.5(d)(2) is required, executed such a release;

(II) Executed an agreement with the Director as required by 20 CFR §§ 603.09 and 603.10; or

(III) Complied with both sub-subparagraph (I) and (II) of this subparagraph if so required by applicable federal law or regulation; or

(ii) The request for information, including whether the agency has received an initial application, processed an initial application or weekly certification form, or made a determination as to the individual's own eligibility, would not require the Director to disclose confidential unemployment compensation information about the individual or employing unit that the individual or employing unit has not already provided to the Councilmember.

(B) For the purposes of subparagraph (A)(i) of this paragraph, reasonable evidence that an individual or employing unit has authorized disclosure of their confidential unemployment compensation information to a Councilmember shall include:

(i) A written request from the individual or employing unit for assistance from the Councilmember; or

(ii) A contemporaneous written record of a request for assistance from an individual or employing unit that the Councilmember who received the request made, which states the medium (telephone, virtual meeting platform, or in-person meeting) the individual or employing unit used to communicate the request and the date and approximate time of the request.

(C) For the purposes of this paragraph, the term:

(i) "Confidential unemployment compensation information" shall have the same meaning as the term "confidential UC information" provided in 20 C.F.R. § 603.2(b).

(ii) "Councilmember" includes, to the extent permitted by applicable federal law or regulation, a Council employee or a non-governmental agent or contractor whom the Councilmember has designated to act on behalf of the Councilmember for the purposes of performing the Councilmember's official duties related to this Act;

(3) Subject to such restrictions as the Director may by regulation prescribe, the information protected pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection may be made available to any agency of this or any other state or any federal agency charged with the administration of an unemployment compensation law or the maintenance of a system of public employment offices, or the agency of any state or the federal agency charged with the administration of programs for food stamps, parent locator services and other support or paternity establishment services, public housing, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Program on Work, Employment, and Responsibility, and supplemental security income, or the Department of Public Welfare of the government of any state, or the National Directory of New Hires established pursuant to section 316(f) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, approved August 22, 1996 (110 Stat. 2209, 42 U.S.C. § 653a), or any District of Columbia State Directory of New Hires established pursuant to section 313(b) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, or the United States Accounting Office or the Internal Revenue Service of the United States Department of the Treasury, or the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, and information obtained in connection with the administration of the employment service may be made available to persons or agencies for purposes appropriate to the operation of a public employment service. Upon request therefor, the Director shall furnish to any agency of the United States charged with the administration of public works or assistance through public employment, and may furnish to any state agency similarly charged, the name, address, ordinary occupation, and employment status of each recipient of benefits and such recipient's rights to further benefits under this chapter. The Director may request the Comptroller of the Currency of the United States to cause an examination of the correctness of any return or report of any national banking association rendered pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and may in connection with such request transmit any such report or return to the Comptroller of the Currency of the United States as provided in § 1606(c) of the federal Internal Revenue Code.

(g) In the discharge of the duties imposed by this subchapter, the Director and any duly authorized representative thereof shall have power to administer oaths and affirmations, take depositions, certify to official acts, and issue subpoenas to compel attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, and other records deemed necessary as evidence in connection with a disputed claim or the administration of this subchapter.

(h) In the case of contumacy by, or refusal to obey a subpoena issued to, any person, the Director may invoke the aid of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, and other records. Such Court may issue an order requiring such person to appear before the Director or officer designated by the Director, there to produce records, if so ordered, or to give testimony touching the matter in question; and any failure to obey such order of the Court may be punished by such Court as a contempt thereof. Any person who shall, without just cause, fail or refuse to attend and testify or to answer any lawful inquiry or to produce books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, and other records, if in his power so to do, in obedience to the subpoena of the Director, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 1 year, or both.

(i) No person shall be excused from attending and testifying or from producing books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, and other records before the Director or in obedience to the subpoena of the Director or any officer designated by the Director, or in any cause or proceeding instituted by the Director, on the ground that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of him may tend to incriminate him or subject him to a penalty or forfeiture; but no individual shall be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which he is compelled, after having claimed his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise, except that such individual so testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury committed in so testifying.