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Resources for Washingtonians waiting for unemployment benefits

There are some resources available for people still waiting for an unemployment check and can’t pay bills.

Thousands of Washingtonians are still waiting for their unemployment benefits as the state Employment Security Department (ESD) sorts through a backlog of claims.

Some residents have said they are starting to feel desperate and don’t know how they will pay bills as we approach July.

“I have applied for benefits and still haven't received them,” KING 5 viewer Dany wrote. “I am a single mom, and I have $39 left to my name. I have maxed out my cards, and I'm at wit's end. I do not ask for anything from anybody and have worked my whole life. I really want to keep my son in a stable environment, and I am afraid I won't be able to pay rent next month."

RELATED: Unemployed in Washington? Top money questions answered

KING 5 receives emails each week from viewers like Dany who are waiting for their unemployment benefits and don’t know that to do. But there are some resources out there that can help.

Rent

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee extended the state’s eviction moratorium through August 1. The moratorium prohibits, with limited exceptions, residential evictions and late fees on unpaid rent. It also requires landlords to offer residents a repayment plan to catch up on unpaid rent.

Tenants should report any violations to the Washington State Attorney General's Office. By May 27, the AG’s Office reported it had received more than 1,800 eviction complaints during the coronavirus pandemic.

Resources like the Housing Stability Project, A Regional Coalition for Housing, and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance are also available for anyone needing rental assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food

Any family in Washington state that has a child enrolled in a K-12 school who receives free or reduced-price meals is eligible for extra food benefits. The Pandemic EBT Emergency School Meals Program (P-EBT) is a temporary food benefit to help families buy groceries because schools were closed due to COVID-19.

P-EBT is for all students regardless of citizenship or immigration status. The only requirement is that a child must be eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

RELATED: Washington residents on food assistance will get extra money during coronavirus crisis

The amount each family receives depends on how many students in the home receive free or reduced-price meals. The maximum benefit is $399 per child. Families with children who became eligible for free or reduced-price lunches after their school closed will receive less than $399 per child.

P-EBT benefits for families that already receive food stamps will have the additional funds loaded onto their existing EBT card between June 28 and July 7, 2020. Families with children who receive free or reduced-price school meals that want to receive P-EBT benefits must apply online before August 31 or by the beginning of the new school year, whichever is later. Families can also apply for P-EBT by calling 877-501-2233.

Click here for more information.

Unemployment calls restricted

The ESD is restricting inbound calls to its claim center until July 5 to focus on outbound calling to resolve complex issues for those who have waited for the longest for their benefits. Restricting calls also frees up time to process claims with simpler issues.

If your unemployment claim is denied, appeal the ruling and request a hearing. You can also contact the Unemployment Law Project for help and the non-profit will help with your appeal for free.

Coronavirus: Your Money, Your Future

Do you have a question or concern about money during the coronavirus pandemic? Email us at money@king5.com.