Employment Security Department Commissioner, Suzi LeVine, released this statement on Monday, following the new federal stimulus measure being signed into law by President Trump on Sunday evening:
“We are grateful for this much-needed relief for the hundreds of thousands of unemployed Washingtonians who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, especially those who were facing the loss of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits this week.
“With the hard work the team has been doing in anticipation of this legislation, we will be able to update our systems in time to ensure that most claimants receiving PUA and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) will not experience any gap in their benefits. However, we are still awaiting the necessary guidance from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) to fully implement this new law. Therefore, some changes to the previous provisions, as well as additional benefits such as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), won’t be seen immediately. We are working to deliver those changes and benefits as quickly and securely as we can and, where needed, we will provide all back payments on benefits to eligible claimants, including the additional $300 per week from the new FPUC.
“Unemployed workers in Washington and across the nation are in desperate need of the help and support these benefits provide. Along with our fellow states, I strongly encourage the USDOL to provide us the information and guidelines needed to implement these programs. Current claimants should continue to submit weekly claims as usual. We will provide updates at esd.wa.gov/covid, through social media and directly to claimants. Our team will continue to work night and day to ensure these new benefits are available as quickly as possible.”
As of mid-December, the Employment Security Department has distributed more than $13 billion in benefits to more than one million unemployed Washingtonians since the start of the pandemic in March.