State to distribute emergency unemployment benefits

Unemployed workers in Washington who have run out of unemployment benefits may be eligible for an additional 13 weeks from the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Thanks to legislation approved late last month by Congress and the President, those who filed an unemployment claim since May 7, 2006, could be eligible for "emergency unemployment compensation" benefits if they are currently unemployed and meet other criteria.

The emergency benefits are completely funded by the federal government, but paid out by the state. Claimants must apply for the program and meet eligibility requirements, including documenting at least three job-search activities each week.

"Even though our statewide unemployment rate is still pretty good, we know there are people who are having a hard time finding steady work as the economy slows down," said Commissioner Karen Lee, head of the Employment Security Department. "These benefits will help tide people over as they look for meaningful employment."

The emergency unemployment benefits begin this week. Employment officials will notify potentially eligible claimants this month by mail about how to apply for benefits.

Unlike regular unemployment benefits, claimants will have to file paper applications to get the emergency benefits started, but they will be able to claim subsequent weeks at or by phone at 1-800-318-6022.

It will take several weeks for the first checks to be processed and issued. Meanwhile, claimants should begin documenting at least three job-search activities each week in order to receive benefits retroactively to July 6.

The weekly benefit amount would be the same as the claimant's previous benefit amount.

The deadline for applying for the emergency unemployment benefits is March 28, 2009.

More information about the emergency unemployment compensation program, including eligibility requirements, is online at


Comments are subject to moderator review and may not appear immediately on the site.

Please read our commenting policy before posting.

Any comment violating the site's commenting guidelines will be removed and the user could be banned from the site.

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment