Washington State’s improving unemployment rate will reduce the maximum weeks of unemployment benefits from 99 to 73 for most eligible workers after April 21.
The Employment Security Department will mail notices to all workers who are claiming long-term benefits, with information about how their benefits will be affected.
“We are at a difficult point, where our unemployment rate is greatly improved, yet still relatively high,” said Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause. “Losing up to six months of benefits will make the unemployment situation a lot more urgent for thousands of families.”
Currently, there are two long-term-benefits programs available in Washington after an eligible unemployed worker runs out of regular benefits. Both of the long-term-benefits programs are funded by the federal government, and they trigger on and off based on the state’s unemployment rate.
Employment Security officials estimate that approximately 12,500 unemployed workers will lose benefits immediately when extended benefits end on April 21. In addition, more than 11,000 workers will exhaust their emergency benefits within eight weeks after April 21, and another 40,000 people on unemployment are at risk of running out during the final six months of the year if they can’t find work.
Employment Security officials do not expect Washington’s unemployment rate to drop enough this year to shut off additional tiers of emergency unemployment compensation.
Trause said he urges unemployed workers to contact a local WorkSource center for employment assistance at no cost.
“If you’ve been unemployed for a year or more and haven’t been able to find a job, you’d probably benefit from some expert assistance,” he said. “WorkSource has workshops, career counseling and job clubs that can make your job search more productive.”