Under a new federal law, most people claiming emergency unemployment benefits are required to attend an appointment at their local WorkSource employment center, according to an April 9 announcement by the Washington State Employment Security Department.
During the appointment, unemployed residents will receive an orientation, skill assessment and a review of their efforts to find work. People who fail to attend the required meeting may have to repay some or all of their unemployment benefits.
Appointment letters are being mailed in yellow envelopes with a WorkSource return address.
State officials estimate that 55,000 emergency-benefit recipients will be scheduled for the required meetings between now and the end of the year.
“Congress has come to realize that the employment services offered through WorkSource help the unemployed return to work faster,” said Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause, in a press release. “Getting back to work faster is better for the workers’ financial well-being, and it reduces the strain on the unemployment trust fund.”
A 2009 study found that unemployed workers who received job search assistance from WorkSource were up to 37 percent more likely to find work within the study period than those who didn’t receive the services.
The new federal law requires recipients to actively look for work in order to remain eligible for benefits.
Washington state already requires people on unemployment to conduct at least three job search activities each week.
“Implementing the new federal law presents some logistical challenges, but we’re ahead of the pack,” Trause said.
More information on WorkSource can be found at www.go2worksource.com.