Tens of thousands of Washingtonians face losing unemployment benefits

On Saturday unemployment benefits expired for tens of thousands of Washingtonians. 

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, or PUA, provided federally funded dollars to folks who would not usually receive unemployment benefits like people who work part-time, business owners, and people who are self-employed. Officials in the governor’s office say about 100,000 folks in Washington receive those benefits.

However, Saturday those people faced an uncertain future.

Without President Trump’s signature on the new COVID-19 relief spending bill, those federal dollars are no longer available.

"Especially around this time of year, the holiday season, it was really nice to make sure we had that little bit extra to have some of those choice things around, but it’s been crucial to our family. I’m really curious to see what is going to happen," said Josh Green.

As a chef, Green’s employment was impacted by the pandemic. He says he was receiving PUA dollars which was helping his family.

Earlier in the month, Governor Jay Inslee said the state would provide resources for folks like the Green Family who receive PUA dollars.

Officials in the governor’s office say they are hopeful the president will sign the bill. However, if that is not the case, details of how the state will intervene will be provided in the next few days.