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Employment Security responds to the SR-530 landslide disaster

Updated April 17, 2014 (8 a.m.)

The information on this Web page is divided into three categories for people who may be affected by the SR-530 landslide: FOR WORKERS AND EMPLOYERS; FOR WORKERS; and FOR EMPLOYERS.

FOR WORKERS AND EMPLOYERS

The President has authorized Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) related to the SR-530 landslide disaster in Snohomish County. All DUA applications must be submitted to Employment Security by May 5, 2014.

Who’s eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance?

People who lost their jobs as a direct result of the disaster and do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits may receive DUA. Examples:

  • Self-employed individuals and business owners who can’t operate their business due to the disaster.
  • A worker whose place of employment was physically damaged or destroyed.
  • An employee whose worksite is inaccessible (example: road or business is closed).
  • Someone whose employer or business loses work because it received most of its revenue from another entity that was damaged or destroyed in the disaster.
  • Someone who was prevented from beginning a new job.
  • Someone who can no longer work due to an injury suffered in the disaster.
  • Someone who became the head of his or her household because of a death caused by the disaster.
  • Someone who didn’t have enough base-year hours to qualify for regular benefits.


How to apply for DUA

  • Call our special SR-530 unemployment claims line (855-636-5610, option 1).
  • If possible, have your employment records (e.g., payslips or W-2) available.
  • We’ll start by verifying whether you qualify for regular benefits.
  • If you don’t qualify for regular benefits and you became unemployed or had your hours reduced due to the disaster, there’s a good chance you qualify for DUA. The claims agent will provide instructions for obtaining and submitting a DUA application form.


Work-search requirements while on DUA

In most cases, you’ll be required to look for work while receiving disaster unemployment assistance. A claims agent will explain the requirements to you.

Need access to a phone or Internet?

WorkSource offices offer free access to phones and computers with Internet to file your unemployment claims or look for work. Snohomish County libraries also provide computers with free Internet access for these purposes.

FOR WORKERS

If you’re receiving unemployment benefits, but not able to look for work

If you’re unemployed, but you can’t look for work due to the disaster (for example, if you can’t get transportation out of Darrington), call the special SR-530 unemployment claims line (855-636-5610, option 1) right away and ask to be placed on “disaster standby.” We’ll temporarily waive your job-search requirement.

If you couldn’t file a weekly claim when it was due

Keep track of any efforts you make to file a claim (dates and times). When you’re able to reach a claims agent, explain that you didn’t have phone or Internet access due to the SR-530 landslide disaster, and ask the agent to backdate your weekly claim.


FOR EMPLOYERS

The SR-530 landslide has created big challenges for many businesses in the area, such as lost income due to fewer customers, employees who can’t get to work, higher costs to get products to market, and other difficulties. Employment Security and your local WorkSource system offer some options to help you manage this difficult time.

Shared-Work Program

If your business is facing a temporary slowdown, consider the Shared-Work Program. It allows a business to temporarily reduce some or all of your workers’ hours, and the workers can receive a partial unemployment check.

It’s a great way to reduce payroll and continue operating, without losing your skilled workers. As an added bonus, the federal government currently pays more than 90 percent of Shared-Work costs, so these benefits have very little effect on employers’ tax rates. Contact: 800-752-2500 or sharedwork@esd.wa.gov.

Standby for furloughed workers

If you lay off one or more workers, but you expect to rehire them within a couple of months, you can ask Employment Security to put them on “standby” status. We can pay them unemployment benefits, but they won’t have to look for other jobs (employees who don’t have enough work hours to qualify for regular benefits may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance). This might be a good option if you have employees who cannot reach your worksite. (Read our Temporary layoffs and standby rules Web page for more information.)

Rapid-response services

If you need to implement a mass layoff (permanent or temporary), your local WorkSource system can provide rapid-response services to you and your employees. The WorkSource rapid-response specialists can inform employers about your options for avoiding or minimizing layoffs (e.g., Shared Work, standby, etc.) and help your workers understand and quickly access their unemployment benefits. Call or email Paul Garcia, 425-921-3491, at Workforce Snohomish.

Relief from benefit charges resulting from a natural disaster

Employers can request that Employment Security not charge their tax accounts for unemployment benefits paid as the result of a natural disaster that closes or curtails your business operations. That way, the disaster won’t affect your tax rates in future years.

Employers must request the relief in writing within 30 days after Employment Security notifies you that a former employee has applied for unemployment benefits. Get more details and instructions for submitting a request.

OTHER DISASTER INFORMATION & RESOURCES



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