60k in Washington to Loose Jobless Benefits

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Up to 60,000 persons in Washington will be taken off of unemployment benefits when the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program ends on Dec. 29.

During much of the recession, most unemployed workers could qualify for up to 99 weeks of benefits, according to the state’s Employment Security Department. This included 26 weeks of regular benefits, 53 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) and 20 weeks of extended benefits — paid in that order.

Since being activated in July 2008, the extended program has paid more than $5.6 billion in federally funded unemployment benefits to more than 407,000 jobless workers in this state.

Due to the state’s improved unemployment rate, extended benefits shut off last April, and Congressional action has reduced EUC benefits to a maximum of 37 weeks. After Dec. 29, only regular benefits will be available for most Washington workers.

Over the next few weeks, Employment Security will send emails, robocalls and direct mail to recipients reminding them the program is ending.