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Washington approved for extra $300 per week in unemployment benefits

FEMA approved Washington state for a grant under the Lost Wages Assistance program. The funding provides an extra $300 per week to some of Washington's unemployed.

Washington has been approved for a federal coronavirus grant that will allow for an additional $300 in unemployment benefits on top of the state’s regular unemployment benefit for a limited period of time. 

Payments will be retroactive to Aug. 1.  

Not everyone who has filed a claim will be eligible for the extra funding, and Washington state's Employment Security Department (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

FEMA announced Monday, Aug. 24, that it approved Washington state for a grant under the Lost Wages Assistance program. FEMA will work with Gov. Jay Inslee to implement a system to make the funding available to Washington residents. 

It was not immediately clear when the extra benefits may be available to unemployed workers. 

The ESD announced on Thursday, Aug. 20, that it would apply for the Lost Wages Assistance program by Friday.

“We will implement this as quickly as possible to distribute the extra payments to Washingtonians once our application is approved,” said ESD Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “Any additional funds to help unemployed workers are welcome – and we estimate that this will provide more than $400 million to families, individuals and our state’s economy."

"It is important however, to emphasize that this benefit is currently time-limited to those filing claims over a three-week period, between July 26 and Aug. 15, 2020, and not everyone who has filed an unemployment claim will be eligible," Levine added. "We will continue to work with FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor to pursue any additional funds for Washingtonians that may remain after the initial three-week period of benefits are distributed.”

To qualify for this additional funding, claimants must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. This will require a new step for claimants currently receiving unemployment benefits. 

If the application is approved, ESD will provide a defined timeline for when the program will launch so that payments can be made to eligible claimants. Those who want to learn more can visit the Lost Wages Program FAQ page on ESD's website

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