Unemployment insurance payments to about 25,000 people statewide, including 6,554 in King County, will expire Dec. 28 without congressional action, the Washington Employment Security Department said Thursday.
Democrats in Congress were scrambling Thursday to tie an extension of federal jobless benefits to a budget deal brokered by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
But if those efforts fall short, they’ll have to wait until after the new year to seek extended benefits for jobless workers. The House plans to go on holiday break Friday.
Nationwide, about 1.3 million people will lose their jobless benefits at the end of the month without an extension of the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.
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“Although Congress has extended the EUC program 11 times in the past five years, there’s currently no indication it will be reauthorized again,” Washington’s Employment Security Department said in a statement.
More than 452,000 jobless workers statewide have received a total of $6.3 billion in federally funded benefits under the program since it was activated in July 2008.
Jobless workers presently can receive up to 63 weeks of unemployment benefits: 26 weeks paid for by the state and 37 weeks paid by the federal government. They get a percentage of their previous wages, or anywhere from $143 to $624 weekly.
Washington’s unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percentage point in October to 7.0 percent, compared with 7.3 percent nationwide.
Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or email@example.com. On Twitter: @amyemartinez