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$300 boost for Washington's unemployed becomes available Sept. 21

Payments will be retroactive to those who are eligible and while funding is available from the federal government.

OLYMPIA, Wash — Washington's Employment Security Department (ESD) announced that an extra $300 unemployment benefit will be processed for eligible residents starting Sept. 21. 

These payments will be in addition to the state's regular unemployment benefit. Not everyone who has filed a claim will be eligible for the extra funding, and ESD has said that the benefit is currently time-limited to those filing claims over a three-week period, between July 26 and Aug. 15.

In order to qualify for the weekly bonus, people must certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19.

The extra funding comes after a program that offered an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits expired on Aug. 1. Washington applied for the $300 boost for eligible residents, which the federal government approved through an executive order. 

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Those who are eligible will receive the money in their accounts as soon as their bank processes the payment from ESD. Payments will be retroactive for all of the weeks for which people are eligible and funding is available from the federal government.

The federal government approved Washington state's application for the extra benefits for the weeks ending Aug. 1, 8 and 15, according to the ESD website. From now on, the unemployment office must submit applications for the program every week. 

ESD will continue to submit applications weekly for as many weeks as federal funds are available, according to its website. 

Those whose weekly claim statuses are "paid" for any of the approved weeks and have shown that they are eligible will receive the extra $300 retroactively for the weeks ending Aug. 1, 8 and 15.

In early August, White House officials offered a short-term extension of the $600 benefit. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected the offer, arguing that Republicans didn't understand that the situation requires a solution that is larger in scope. 

Many Republicans have expressed concern that a $600 weekly benefit, on top of existing state benefits, gives people an incentive to stay unemployed.

The two sides have not yet come to an agreement on a larger coronavirus relief bill. 

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