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Unemployment Benefit & CARES Act

Dear clients of SKJ & Company, P.S.
Many of our clients are inquiring about unemployment insurance benefit. Washington State Employment Security Department has not yet updated its system in accordance with CARES Act, thus we are unable to provide more specific guidance on how to apply for the benefit for those who typically would not qualify. Still, we are writing to share information that is available to our firm as much as possible.
CARES Act made the following changes to unemployment benefit

  • Applicants are no longer subject to 12-months & 680 hours requirements.

  • Self-employed workers can also receive the benefit based on duration of self-employment and income.

  • Additional $600 per week is paid for the benefit between 3/29/2020 and 7/31/2020.

  • The benefit period is extended up to 39 weeks.

The following questions are frequently asked by clients
Denial letters for standby employees
According to ESD, these letters were sent out in error. The applications will be reconsidered and the denial status will be removed.
Additional $600 benefit per week
Unemployment benefit will include $600 of additional benefit per week. However, ESD’s system has not yet been updated to pay the additional amount. The system is expected to be updated in mid-April, and your benefit will be paid retroactively.
Unemployment Benefit for Self-employment workers
If you lost income due to decrease in sales or temporary closure, you may apply for unemployment benefit under CARES Act. As mentioned above, however, ESD’s system has not yet been updated to receive application for those who were typically ineligible. ESD is expecting to finish updating its system by mid-April, we recommend to apply for benefit after this date.
Corporate Officer’s Unemployment Benefit
Typically, corporate officers are not eligible for unemployment benefit unless they elect to have the unemployment insurance coverage. There is no formal announcement by ESD so far, but we expect that at least the additional $600 of benefit per week will be available to corporate officers. If it is possible, this benefit will be available in mid-April when the ESD’s system is updated. Please note: if you apply for corporate officer’s unemployment benefit now, your hours and wage records will not be available on ESD’s system as the records are not reported to ESD.
Unemployment benefit application can be submitted through ESD’s website.
You may also apply by phone or mail, but we strongly recommend applying online.
Please follow the link below and create Secure Access Washington account and proceed with your application.

SKJ & Company, P.S.