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Unemployment running out in Washington? Here's what you should do

Federal programs are helping unemployed workers in Washington whose regular benefits are about to expire. Here's what you need to know.

SPOKANE, Wash. — It's a question on the minds of many people as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the job market and economy: What do I need to do if my unemployment runs out?

Normally, unemployed workers in Washington can get benefits for 26 weeks in a 12-month period. But federal programs have been added to to help people whose regular unemployment benefits are about to expire. 

We break down what unemployed workers should do if their benefits are running out in Washington.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

Residents in Washington can take advantage of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which is a federal program created under the CARES Act. 

These benefits are available for up to 13 weeks through Dec. 26, 2020. 

According to the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) website, eligible unemployed workers in Washington include those who:

  • Have exhausted their regular unemployment insurance claim with a benefit year that ended on or after the week ending July 6, 2019.
  • Are able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work as directed. You should answer yes if COVID-19 business closures are preventing you from working but you'd be able and available to work when businesses open back up.
  • Have left work through no fault of their own.

Unemployed workers in Washington who have reached the end of their benefit weeks will receive a "Final Payment" status in their eServices accounts. 

Those who have a link for PEUC should click to apply. 

If a link is not available, check the mail for a "PEUC Monetary Determination" or "EB Monetary Determination" letter. A determination letter will tell someone if they are approved for benefits and explain eligibility requirements.

Extended Benefits in Washington

Extended Benefits apply to unemployed workers in Washington state. They provide up to 20 additional weeks of benefits after unemployed workers have used up regular and PEUC benefits. 

The U.S. Department of Labor makes the decision on how many weeks are available under this program, and Washington ESD says it will notify unemployment workers if that number changes or if the extended benefits program ends.

In order to qualify, unemployed workers must have a regular claim that expires May 30, 2020 or later.

Unemployed workers should receive a letter about two weeks before their PEUC claim runs out that provides more details about Extended Benefits and prompts you to apply. The easiest way to do so is through the eServices account. 

The weekly extended benefit amount will be the same as the weekly benefit amount that person had during their most recent regular unemployment claim.

More information about benefit extensions and answers to frequently asked questions are available on the ESD website