Washington will use federal CARES Act funds to provide “pandemic relief payments” in response to the lapse in federal unemployment insurance benefits

By: Emily Makings
8:27 am
December 28, 2020

Earlier this month, Gov. Inslee announced that Washington would use $54.6 million of the state’s share of the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) for unemployment insurance benefits for people in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, if the federal government didn’t act to extend the program before it was set to expire on Dec. 26. (Here’s the memo making the allocation.)

Yesterday, President Trump finally signed the FY 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which includes the new coronavirus relief package. Also yesterday, before the president signed the bill, Gov. Inslee announced that the state will use the $54 million from the CRF “to extend a one-time Pandemic Relief Payment to 94,555 people in our state who have been claiming PUA and will be immediately impacted by the lapse in federal benefits.” (The PUA provides unemployment insurance benefits to workers who would not normally be eligible, like the self-employed, independent contractors, and part-time workers.)

According to the Employment Security Department, everyone who received PUA benefits for the week ending Nov. 21 will receive a payment of $550.

The Seattle Times reports that even though President Trump signed the bill, which includes an extension of the PUA program, “because he missed the Saturday deadline, the state was still expecting a weeklong gap in federal PUA payments, the governor’s spokesperson Tara Lee said.”

Categories: Economy , Employment Policy.
Tags: CARES Act , COVID-19 , other federal action on COVID-19 , state action on COVID-19 , unemployment insurance