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WA State implements additional unemployment relief, outside of federal assistance

Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the state will pay $550 to almost 100,000 Washingtonians who will lose federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits at the end of December.  

In a release, the Governor announced today the state will provide funding for almost 100,000 Washingtonians who will lose federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits following the hesitation of President Trump’s to sign the federal coronavirus relief package. 

The president had until midnight on December 26th to sign the sweeping relief bill to avert a lapse in PUA benefits. 

President Trump signed the bill one day before the government was set to shut down –  but not before unemployment benefits for an estimated 12 million Americans lapsed. 

This emergency payments of CARES Act funds totaling $54 million will be issued to all PUA claimants who: 

  • Submitted a PUA claim for the week ending Nov. 21, 2020, and 
  • Were paid for that week on or before Dec. 24. 

The payment will total $550 per claimant — equal to roughly two weeks of benefits for most PUA recipients.  

“We know how critical these payments are to individuals and families across the state and we’re grateful to the governor for his leadership on this,” said Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “The team at ESD has been working around the clock to get this new program ready. We will issue these one-time payments this week so that eligible claimants will have the funds as they head into the New Year.”  

This emergency payment will be issued by the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) to all PUA claimants who were in active status the week ending November 21st, and will total $550 per claimant, which equates to roughly two weeks of benefits for most PUA recipients. If signed, the federal relief package would extend federal PUA benefits through March 14, 2021.

The PUA program provides federal unemployment benefits for those not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance, such as independent contractors and self-employed workers.

To learn more, go to esd.wa.gov/pandemic-relief.  

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