Unemployment benefits in Washington state are expanding under the Federal CARES Act to cover independent contractors and self-employed individuals. Additionally, anyone who is receiving or will be receiving weekly unemployment benefits, either through regular State unemployment or through the expanded CARES Act will receive an additional $600 per week through the CARES Act.
These new benefits are also available for workers who did not work enough hours to qualify for traditional unemployment benefits (workers who worked less than 680 hours). The City of Seattle encourages anyone who has lost work due to COVID-19 to apply including delivery drivers, Uber/Lyft drivers, and domestic workers who are house cleaners, nannies, cooks, home care workers, gardeners or household managers. You can apply to receive unemployment assistance from the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) at esd.wa.gov/unemployment.
Here’s what to do right now to be prepared to apply:
- Sign up for Action Alerts https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAESD/signup/15249
- Check out the application check list https://esdorchardstorage.blob.core.windows.net/esdwa/Default/ESDWAGOV/Unemployment/COVID-19_Applications_CheckList.pdf
- Sign up for or check if you have a Secure Access WA (SAW) Account https://secure.esd.wa.gov/home/
- If you are an independent contractor or are self-employed, gather documents to show your work hours. Tax information like a tax return or 1099 is best, but other documents may be accepted.