Washington to enable the CARES Act provisions this weekend


OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington will enable the CARES Act provisions this weekend, meaning more Washingtonians will be able to apply for unemployment who were previously considered ineligible.

Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine joined Governor Inslee on Thursday to break down new provisions under the act, and how you can prepare to apply.

According to LeVine, roughly 143,000 people filed for initial unemployment claims last week, marking the third highest week on record for claims filed in the state.

Under the CARES Act, those (like independent contractors and self-employed individuals) who were previously not eligible for benefits can now apply.

It also increases weekly benefits by $600 for those already on unemployment, and adds an additional 13 weeks of benefits if needed.

LeVine said her team is currently working on a software update. Starting Sunday, the newly-restored website will be up and running, with a two-step process to help get money into your pocket as soon as possible.

So, what can you do to prepare before then?

LeVine says there’s a four-step process that can help:

  1. Head to the Employment Security Department’s website and apply for action alerts
  2. Check your eligibility
  3. Download the application checklist
  4. Sign up for a Secure Access Washington account

LeVine says, of the roughly 585,000 claims last week, 256,000 were paid out, leaving many to wonder about the other people who never received their money. LeVine says many of those people were considered ineligible.

After this weekend, those who were previously ineligible will be paid retroactively from the time the applied, LeVine said.

“We have been working as swiftly as we humanly can, working around the clock to meet the needs of Washingtonians,” said LeVine.