Federal jobless benefits expire for thousands of Washingtonians

OLYMPIA, Wash. — More than 7 million Americans have lost their unemployment benefits as several pandemic-related programs expired Saturday.

In Washington, there are about 120,000 people without jobs, and as federal programs end, the state is not stepping in to help.

Key federal programs that expired include:

  • Pandemic-related $300 enhanced federal unemployment benefits.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: A program that paid benefits to the self-employed, contractors, people with COVID-related caregiving needs and other workers ineligible for regular unemployment benefits.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation: A program that provided additional weeks of benefits to people who have not found work but exhausted their 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits.

Jeanelle Parrott told KIRO 7 she just can’t catch a break. During the pandemic, she lost her job as a massage therapist. Her unemployment benefits have been interrupted multiple times throughout the pandemic, and by the middle of this week, she won’t get any benefits at all.

“I have a tiny buffer, and after that it’s back to what I’ve said: square zero,” Parrott said.

Parrott has a young daughter and is a caretaker for her mother. She said her unemployment benefits have helped her with everything from rent to food.

States can still use federal money to extend income support for unemployed workers, but so far, Washington has failed to take any action.

Last December, Gov. Jay Inslee filled the gap with $550 payments when federal assistance lapsed, but there is no indication that will happen this time.

The state eviction moratorium is also slated to expire on Sept. 30.