Up to 60,000 people in Washington will be shut off of unemployment benefits when the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program ends on Dec. 29.
Since being activated in 2008, the program has paid more than $5.6 billion in benefits to more than 407 thousand workers in this state, according to the state’s Employment Security Department.
During much of the recession, most unemployed workers could qualify for up to 99 weeks of benefits.
Due to the state’s improved unemployment rate, extended benefits shut off last April. After Dec. 29, only regular benefits will be available for most Washington workers. Grays Harbor currently shows 11.3% unemployment compared to 8.2% at the state level.
Although Congress has extended the program 10 times in the past four years, there’s currently no indication it will be reauthorized again.
Over the next few weeks, Employment Security will send emails, robocalls and direct mail to recipients reminding them the program is ending.