Inslee promises $54 million to those losing federal pandemic unemployment benefits

Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday said the state will provide $54 million to almost 100,000 Washington residents who will lose federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits after President Trump didn’t sign the federal coronavirus relief package by midnight on Dec. 26. The president’s signature would have prevented a lapse in PUA benefits.

“We are providing a bridge for some Washingtonians until the federal government finally acts,” Inslee said. “It is extremely unfortunate that the president has missed the deadline and allowed much-needed unemployment benefits to lapse for struggling workers and families.”

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

Inslee said that the state prepared for the possibility of a lapse in benefits, developing a plan for a one-time payment to those who have been receiving federal benefits.

“Today, I am announcing that Washington state will provide $54 million to extend a one-time Pandemic Relief Payment to 94,555 people in our state who have been claiming PUA and will be immediately impacted by the lapse in federal benefits,” Inslee said. The Employment Security Department will be issuing this state benefit later this week, the governor said.

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 Nov. 21, 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.

You can learn more on the Employment Security Department pandemic relief webpage.


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