Federal government shutdown will not interrupt unemployment benefits for WorkSource job services
Media contacts: Jamie Swift, unemployment-insurance communications, 360-902-0904
Sheryl Hutchison, communications director, 360-902-9289
OLYMPIA – Officials with the Washington State Employment Security Department are assuring unemployed workers that unemployment benefits will continue to be paid even if the federal government shuts down.
In addition, WorkSource offices will remain open to provide job-search, training and career development services. There are about three dozen full-service centers across Washington, plus several dozen affiliates that provide a smaller array of services.
Although Employment Security and WorkSource operations are supported mostly with federal funding, Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause said, “We have funds on hand to maintain unemployment benefits and employment services in our state for at least several weeks.”
Unemployment benefits are paid from a state trust fund that is held by the federal government. Employment Security obtains periodic cash transfers from the trust fund to cover benefit payouts in Washington state. The U.S. Department of Labor has assured state officials that a federal shutdown will not interrupt those cash transfers.
Federal workers may apply for unemployment benefits
Federal workers who become unemployed as the result of a shutdown may qualify for unemployment benefits if they also meet other eligibility criteria.
Employment Security advises federal workers to apply for benefits during the first week they are unemployed so the department can begin processing their applications.
However, workers should be aware that no unemployment benefits are paid for the first “waiting week” after an individual becomes unemployed. The workers will begin receiving unemployment benefits only if a shutdown lasts two or more weeks.
Workers may apply for unemployment benefits online at esd.wa.gov (24 hours a day) or by phone at 800-318-6022 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday). To complete an application, individuals need to know their Social Security numbers, the names and addresses of their employers for the past two years, plus the dates they worked there.
Employment Security has posted a Web page with answers to some frequently asked questions at esd.wa.gov, in the “Alert” box.
Important news from the state’s Employment Security Department: Unemployment benefits will continue to be paid, even if the federal government shuts down.
All WorkSource employment offices also will remain open.
In addition, Employment Security invites federal workers to submit an application for unemployment benefits if a shutdown occurs.
More information is available on the department’s website at esd.wa.gov.