[VIDEO & GUIDE] Answering the question: “Are you available for work?”

A question in the applications process has created confusion and kept some people from receiving unemployment insurance (UI) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. It has to do with a basic requirement of PUA and UI in general: You must be available to work. This document is not intended to give legal advice. Instead, it is meant to provide some guidance while applying for benefits. Please view the complete guide below or watch this video for more information!

[VIDEO & GUIDE] How to file for PUA in Washington

Some questions in the application process have created confusion and kept some people from applying for (and receiving) Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. Because of this issue, they are not being considered for benefits that they otherwise could be getting. So, we created this handy video and PDF guide to learn more about the process. This video and document are not intended as legal advice. It is meant to provide some guidance in applying for PUA. If you have any questions, please contact the Unemployment Law Project.

About the Washington State Employment Security Department Lawsuit

On June 5, 2020, the Sheridan Law Firm in Seattle, WA filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Supreme Court of the State of Washington. The writ asks the Court to compel the Employment Security Department (ESD) to process unemployment benefit claims and make claim payments to Washington’s unemployed in a timely manner as required by law. The ESD did not have the legal authority to forestall and stop payments to thousands of legitimate and qualified claimants as it fell victim to an imposter fraud investigation. ESD, while seeking to verify claimant identities, did so through inept and unsecured channels which has caused further delay in benefit payments and harm to the claimants. This is not a class action lawsuit. If the court rules in favor of the petitioners, it will impact all claimants who are waiting for their claim to be processed. The Unemployment Law Project (ULP) is a party to the filing because we are a non-profit legal services office that serves to protect workers’ rights and represents workers who are denied unemployment benefits or whose benefits were initially approved but later challenged by the employer. ULP is not representing claimants in this matter but is supporting the petition by taking declarations from claimants who are waiting for payments to be made. For more information, please call us at (206) 441-9178 or toll free at 1 (888) 441-9178. Please note we are experiencing high call volumes at this time.

You can read Sheridan’s arguments and the declarations in the case and news stories about the writ at Sheridan’s website.

Learn more: https://www.opb.org/news/article/washington-state-unemployment-benefits-delays-coronavirus-lawsuit/

Black Lives Matter

The Unemployment Law Project unequivocally supports the Black community and the Black Lives Matter movement. The senseless murders and brutalization of the Black community through police violence is a direct consequence of systemic racism and white supremacy that cannot continue. We mourn the loss of George Floyd, Charleena Lyles, Breonna Taylor, Manuel Ellis, Shaun Fuhr, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, and so many more. We are deeply angered and want justice for all the hurts inflicted upon Black communities. We are committed to supporting the Black community and all other marginalized communities by making our work inclusive and providing equitable access to all identities. We want to ensure that everyone within this state knows their rights and has access to the resources they are entitled to without prejudice or injustice. We will continue to fight for this through the work that we do.

In the meantime, we will be taking actionable steps to support sustainable change in our community and disseminate resources that will hopefully help to protect the health and safety of everyone who is bravely advocating and fighting for justice. We will be hosting a webinar with the National Lawyers Guild to help inform protestors of their rights on June 17th at 5:00 PM, recorded here. In April, we co-hosted a webinar with the Seattle King County NAACP, recorded here, regarding unemployment denials and the Black community. We will continue this work and grow our resources and support for all people of color in the state.

In solidarity,

The Unemployment Law Project

Unemployment Law Project

Concerned about identity theft after the SAO claimant data breach? To learn more about our recommended steps to protect yourself from fraud, click here.

Join us for a live webinar at noon on Monday, June 14, as we answer your questions about COVID-19 and unemployment benefits. You can also view recordings of our past webinars here.

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About Unemployment Law Project

The Unemployment Law Project provides free legal representation, advice, and counsel to people in Washington State who have been denied unemployment benefits or whose award of benefits is being challenged.

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