Emergency unemployment benefits reauthorized

The Bellingham Business Journal

Thousands of Washington’s jobless workers may continue to receive up to 99 weeks of benefits now that Congress and the president have reauthorized a federal unemployment benefits program that expired last month.

“This is welcome news for unemployed workers who are having a hard time finding a job,” Joel Sacks, deputy commissioner for the Employment Security Department, said in a press release. “We need to keep a safety net in place until the economy gathers more steam.”

For the past year, eligible jobless workers could receive up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, collected in this order: up to 26 weeks of regular benefits, up to 53 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) and up to 20 weeks of extended benefits.

The Dec. 17 action extends the EUC program, but does not expand the total weeks available. That means people who have already collected all of their EUC benefits are not eligible for additional benefits.

Currently, about 300,000 people in Washington may be eligible for EUC benefits.

For more information, visit www.esd.wa.gov.

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