Washington’s Employment Security System – Suggestions
The Washington Employment Security Redesign project, funded by a one-year Bank of America settlement distributed through the Legal Foundation of Washington, has two primary components: outreach to Washington workers about availability of unemployment benefits, and development and promotion of a specific package of reforms to the current system that can be implemented through legislation or regulatory changes.
What are some of the problems that this project will address? The main ones relate to poor access, limits on benefits, and outdated eligibility standards. For example, maneuvering through benefit applications is complicated, but the Employment Security Department is so understaffed that people tell ULP it is hopeless getting help over the phone. People with disabilities need more than just online FAQs to understand benefits. Benefit levels are too low and have lagged behind inflation; the number of weeks of paid benefits allowed is inadequate and needs re-evaluation as well.