The headquarters for Washington’s Employment Security Department in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The headquarters for Washington’s Employment Security Department in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Washington to apply for federal $300 unemployment aid boost

The program sets the weekly federal benefit here to $300 a week, down from $600 in an earlier program.

Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Washington will apply to join a federal coronavirus program that will provide an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits, state officials announced Thursday.

The Employment Security Department said in a news release that it will apply for the assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Administration no later than Friday. The program came about through an executive order by President Donald Trump after a federally funded $600 boost to weekly state unemployment benefits ended at the end of July.

To date, more than two dozen states have decided to take the funding. The program cuts the weekly benefit to $300 or $400 a week, depending on which plan governors choose. States are required to chip in $100 per claimant to be able to send out the higher amount, something few — including Washington — have agreed to do.

So far, most states that have said they are taking Trump up on his offer have chosen the $300 version. Some have not decided which plan to take.

Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine said the state will implement the program as quickly as possible once the state’s application is approved, and payments will be retroactive to Aug. 1. LeVine cautioned that not everyone who has filed a claim will be eligible for the extra funding.

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

For those starting claims after July 1, the state’s maximum weekly benefit amount increased to $844 from $790, and the minimum increased to $201 from $188.

“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,” LeVine said in a written statement.

More than 1.3 million people have filed claims for unemployment in Washington since early March when pandemic job losses began, and more than 1 million who filed initial claims have been paid. The state has paid more than $9.7 billion in benefits, including the federal money that expired last month.

Congress has not been able to reach agreement on an extension of the weekly boost, with the Democratic U.S. House wanting to continue the $600 amount and the Republican Senate proposing to scale back the extra aid. The executive order that was issued Aug. 8 keeps the program in place until late December, though it will be scrapped if Congress comes up with a different program. It also will end early if the money for the program is depleted, which is likely to happen within a few months.

The extra money is to come as many businesses remain closed or with limited operations and as counties looking to advance from their current stage of COVID-19 economic reopening are paused indefinitely due to the ongoing pandemic.

Seventeen counties are in Phase 3 of a four-part reopening process, 17 counties, including Snohomish, are in Phase 2 and five counties are in a modified Phase 1 of reopening.

There have been more than 68,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington since the pandemic began, and more than 1,800 people have died.

At a news conference earlier Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee said that the state has seen some positive trends, with a decline in daily cases and reproductive transmission rate. But he noted that the state’s target for a two-week period is 25 cases per 100,000, and the state is currently at 110.

“We just have so far to go in this effort,” he said.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Northwest

Alaska Airlines aircraft sit in the airline's hangar at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in SeaTac, Wash. Boeing has acknowledged in a letter to Congress that it cannot find records for work done on a door panel that blew out on an Alaska Airlines flight over Oregon two months ago. Ziad Ojakli, Boeing executive vice president and chief government lobbyist, wrote to Sen. Maria Cantwell on Friday, March 8 saying, “We have looked extensively and have not found any such documentation.” (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
FBI tells passengers on 737 flight they might be crime victims

Passengers received letters this week from a victim specialist from the federal agency’s Seattle office.

Skylar Meade (left) and Nicholas Umphenour.
Idaho prison gang member and accomplice caught after ambush

Pair may have killed 2 while on the run, police say. Three police officers were hospitalized with gunshot wounds after the attack at a Boise hospital.

Barbara Peraza-Garcia holds her 2-year-old daughter, Frailys, while her partner Franklin Peraza sits on their bed in their 'micro apartment' in Seattle on Monday, March 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes)
Micro-apartments are back after nearly a century, as need for affordable housing soars

Boarding houses that rented single rooms to low-income, blue-collar or temporary workers were prevalent across the U.S. in the early 1900s.

Teen blamed for crash that kills woman, 3 children in Renton

Four people were hospitalized, including three with life-threatening injuries. The teenage driver said to be at fault is under guard at a hospital.

Snow is visible along the top of Mount Pilchuck from bank of the Snohomish River on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Washington issues statewide drought declaration, including Snohomish County

Drought is declared when there is less than 75% of normal water supply and “there is the risk of undue hardship.”

Dave Calhoun, center, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Jan. 24. (Samuel Corum / Bloomberg)
Boeing fired lobbying firm that helped it navigate 737 Max crashes

Amid congressional hearings on Boeing’s “broken safety culture,” the company has severed ties with one of D.C.’s most powerful firms.

Rosario Resort and Spa on Orcas Island (Photo provided by Empower Investing)
Orcas Island’s storied Rosario Resort finds a local owner

Founded by an Orcas Island resident, Empower Investing plans” dramatic renovations” to restore the historic resort.

People fill up various water jug and containers at the artesian well on 164th Street on Monday, April 2, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Washington will move to tougher limits on ‘forever chemicals’ in water

The federal EPA finalized the rules Wednesday. The state established a program targeting the hazardous chemicals in drinking water in 2021.

Everett
State: Contractor got workers off Craigslist to remove asbestos in Everett

Great North West Painting is appealing the violations and $134,500 fine levied by the state Department of Labor Industries.

Riley Wong, 7, shows his pen pal, Smudge, the picture he drew for her in addition to his letter at Pasado's Safe Haven on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 in Monroe, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County organization rescues neglected llamas in Yakima County

Pasado’s Safe Haven planned to provide ongoing medical care and rehabilitation to four llamas in its care at its sanctuary.

Whidbey cop accused of rape quits job after internal inquiry

The report was unsparing in its allegations against John Nieder, who is set to go to trial May 6 in Skagit County Superior Court on two counts of rape in the second degree.

LA man was child rape suspect who faked his death

Coroner’s probe reveals the Los Angeles maintenance man was a Bremerton rape suspect believed to have jumped off the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.