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    Dear friends and neighbors,

    How are you holding up? This has been a tough month for our state (and for the world!). If you or your loved ones have fallen sick, or lost a job, or can’t access the services you typically rely on, know that my heart is with you and I stand alongside you ready to help as your state senator however I can.

    My last e-newsletter was a list of resources and some updates about coronavirus in our state, and since a lot has changed, I want to again focus exclusively on helpful information that may be useful to you and your family as we endure this public health crisis together.

    But even in the face of illness, economic collapse, and worldwide uncertainty, I have seen so many beautiful acts of kindness and service in our community, in our state, and across the globe. I hope that this difficult time has also proven to be a time of family and friendship – even across distances.

    In gratitude,

    Mona

    ESD chart

    Resources for unemployed workers:

    We are seeing record levels of unemployment in our state – and all over the country – but we are also seeing federal and state governments offering historic levels of assistance to those in need.

    Our state Employment Security Department (ESD) is being inundated with requests for help, and they are doing their very best to add capacity and get help to every single Washingtonian. I know waiting is both frustrating and scary, but please be patient and try to opt for contacting ESD online rather than by phone, as is recommended in the following list of resources.

    Navigating ESD During COVID-19:

    ESD is experiencing an increase in calls due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak. To better assist you and your case, please start with this website first if it is accessible to you. ESD can also be reached at 888-836-1900; people who are deaf or hard of hearing can call the Washington Relay Service at 711.

    Applying for Unemployment:

    1. Apply online if you can and read the helpful information on ESD’s website before you apply.
    2. In particular, review the unemployment application checklist.

    Recent Changes to Unemployment Insurance:

    To make Unemployment Insurance as widely available as possible, ESD has been working in conjunction with Gov. Inslee to make the following changes:

    • Allowing more workers to access standby status for longer periods.
    • Making job search requirements optional.
    • Lowering the tax impact to businesses who use ESD programs.
    • Waiving the traditional waiting week.
    • Relaxing penalties and fees for employers and workers who miss deadlines due to the COVID crisis.

    Additional tools:

    Federal Stimulus Information from ESD:

    Here are three ways that benefits and access to unemployment have been expanded:

    1. Many people who don’t usually qualify for unemployment benefits because they are self-employed or don’t have the typically required 680 hours will be covered under this legislation.
    2. An additional $600 each week will be paid to those on unemployment, for up to four months. (Some individuals will also receive $1,200, but that is not connected to unemployment and will come directly from the federal government).
    3. Unemployment benefits will be available for longer, up to 39 weeks (usually it is up to 26 weeks).

    I hope you find this information helpful. While we practice social-distancing, it’s also important we stay connected and informed. Sign up for ESD’s COVID-19 action alerts for the most up-to-date information and changes.

    SBA link

    Resources for businesses:

    Paycheck Protection Program

    The federal government has funded the Paycheck Protection Program with $349 billion intended to help organizations keep employees on payroll between now and the end of June 2020.

    Applications can be filed starting April 3 and funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s important to get your application in early.

    The program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organization affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Some businesses with more than 500 employees may also be eligible.

    Learn more about the program and how to apply at https://www.sba.gov/ppp.

    State and Federal Resources for Small Businesses

    Visit the following links for more information about resources and programs to provide relief to small business owners:

    July 16, 2019

    Contact Us

    Olympia Office:

    (360) 786-7692

    Kent Office:

    (253) 395-0867

    Email:

    Mona.Das@leg.wa.gov

    Mailing Address:

    Sen. Mona Das
    PO Box 40447
    Olympia, WA 98504-0403

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    Go to

    Facebook.com/SenatorMonaDas

    to get frequent updates about the work I’m doing for Washington.

    My Committees

    Housing Stability & Affordability
    (vice chair)

    Financial Institutions, Economic Development & Trade

    Environment, Energy & Technology

    Transportation