Washington state to provide $54M in PUA relief during federal delay


Inslee: 'President has chosen to hold the entire relief package hostage'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announced a $54 million extension for a one-time Pandemic Relief Payment to nearly 100,000 residents.

The funds being delivered are going to 94,555 people who have been claiming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) since last month — a group Inslee said will be “immediately impacted by the lapse in federal benefits.”

“We are providing a bridge for some Washingtonians until the federal government finally acts,” the governor said in a release Sunday. “It is extremely unfortunate that the president has missed the deadline and allowed much-needed unemployment benefits to lapse for struggling workers and families.”

Inslee said the plan calls for the Employment Security Department issuing the benefits later this week. The payments will be sent to those who were in active status the week ending November 21, and will total $500 per claimant — totaling what would amount to roughly two weeks of benefits for most PUA recipients.

“Families and businesses will face devastating consequences if the president continues to block the bipartisan package,” he said. “Hopefully he does the right thing and ultimately signs the bill. But, even if the legislation is signed in the days ahead, thousands of Washingtonians will lose at least a week of pandemic unemployment assistance — and that is unacceptable to me.”

A federal passage to the PUA program would extend benefits through March 14, 2021.

To learn more, go to esd.wa.gov/pandemic-relief.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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