The Stand

Laid-off, quarantined workers can access unemployment benefits

If you’re denied benefits, the Unemployment Law Project is here to help


SEATTLE (March 16, 2020) — Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses around Washington state face temporary closure. The state’s unemployment insurance system provides a safety net and partial wage replacement for workers facing quarantine or temporary layoff.

Six days ago, Gov. Jay Inslee and Suzi LeVine, commissioner of the Employment Security Department, announced new rules intended to enhance the flexibility of the state’s unemployment insurance program. Their goal is to “relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation and quarantine by ensuring unemployment benefits are available to individuals whose employment has been impacted directly by COVID-19.”

But should any Washington workers experience problems accessing those benefits, the Unemployment Law Project is here to help.

With offices in Seattle and Spokane, the Unemployment Law Project provides low-cost representation and free advice and counsel to people in Washington state who have been denied unemployment benefits or whose award of benefits is being challenged. They can help individuals challenge the denial of unemployment benefits in two ways, through direct representation and through their telephone Helpline. All temporarily unemployed workers in Washington are eligible for Unemployment Law Project services.

Here is a flier from the ULP regarding COVID-19 and unemployment benefits:

Here is a helpful chart explaining various scenarios for workers amid this crisis and what benefits, including unemployment insurance, are available to them. Note that with the new emergency rules, unemployment benefits are available even when companies remain in business, if workers have been quarantined due to exposure or are self-quarantined because they are immune-compromised.


For the latest information for workers and businesses about Washington’s unemployment insurance policies, click here.  To learn more about the Unemployment Law Project and the services it provides, click here.

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