Individuals unable to work due to COVID-19 risk may qualify for Unemployment Insurance support. A worker may file an unemployment claim at the same time they initiate a discrimination action with Labor and Industries (L&I).
Unemployment claims are addressed on a case-by-case basis. Nonetheless, the following scenarios can be a useful guide:
- An individual working at a worksite that does not follow guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Labor and Washington State Department of Health and who is unable to telework.
- An individual at high-risk for severe illness, in the same household as a person identified as high-risk or providing direct care for a person identified as high-risk who is therefore unable to work and is unable to telework.
- An individual must stay home to care for a young child because school or daycare is closed.
- An individual that quits work for an essential employer maintaining a worksite that does meet guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Labor and Washington State Department of Health.
Note: Per federal guidance, quitting work without good cause to obtain unemployment benefits is fraud.
- The Employment Security Department (ESD) has resources to help with frequently asked questions related to emergency rules and COVID-19 related claims, as well as webinars that provide more information about unemployment insurance.
- Unemployment claims may be filed online or by phone at 800-318-6022. Learn more about what you’ll need in the unemployment application checklist at: esdorchardstorage.blob.core.windows.net/esdwa/Default/ESDWAGOV/Unemployment/COVID-19_Applications_CheckList.pdf.
The federal stimulus bill that extends CARES Act unemployment benefits was signed into law. The legislation:
- Extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Employment Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) until Sept. 4, 2021.
- Continues the additional $300 per week for all eligible claimants until Sept. 4, 2021. By federal law, all claimants who are eligible for at least $1 each week will get this benefit, except those receiving Training Benefits. The $300 is in addition to claimants’ usual weekly benefit amount.