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Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)

Eligibility

What is emergency unemployment compensation (EUC)?
EUC is a federal extension that provides additional weeks of unemployment benefits after you have run out of “regular unemployment benefits.” The program pays a maximum of 43 weeks of additional unemployment benefits, in a series of four tiers.

The first tier is available to all states, regardless of their unemployment rates. Additional tiers are available as a state's unemployment rate rises above certain thresholds - and tiers are shut off as a state's unemployment rate falls below those thresholds.

What's the status of EUC in Washington?
As of Dec. 8, 2013, tiers 1 through 3 are available in Washington. However, under federal law, the entire program is scheduled to shut down on December 28, 2013. We cannot pay EUC benefits for any weeks after December 22-28, even if you have money remaining in your account.

For additional background on the EUC program, read our fact sheet.

Do I qualify for EUC?
You may qualify for Washington EUC if:

  • You are not eligible for a regular claim in any state (including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia) or receiving unemployment benefits from Canada; and
  • You have a valid Washington claim that began on or after May 7, 2006; and
  • The benefit year on the claim has ended or you received all of the regular benefits; and
  • You run out of regular benefits no later than Dec. 21, 2013.

However, be aware that the entire program is scheduled to shut down on December 28, 2013. We cannot pay EUC benefits for any weeks after Dec. 22-28, 2013, even if you have money remaining in your account.

Am I eligible for EUC if I had a denial on my claim while receiving regular benefits?
If you had a prior denial on your claim for benefits, the denial remains in effect until you meet the requalification requirements.

Application

How do I apply for EUC (e.g., tier 1)?
We will automatically mail a paper EUC application to you before you run out of regular unemployment benefits. If you do not receive an application by the time you run out of your regular benefits, you can get one from your local WorkSource office or by calling the EUC claims center at 877-558-8509 (toll-free).  The last week we will mail EUC applications is Dec. 15-21, 2013.

Return your completed EUC application to:

Employment Security Department
Attn: EUC unit
PO Box 9046
Olympia, WA 98507-9046

You cannot apply for EUC using the Internet, telephone or fax.

When do I apply for EUC?
You can apply when we send you an application. If you do not receive an application by the time your regular benefits run out or your benefit year ends, call the EUC claims center at 877-558-8509 (toll-free).

If you've been approved for EUC tier 1, you do not have to apply for tiers 2 and 3. We will automatically set up these benefits if you qualify as each tier of EUC benefits runs out, up until the entire program ends.

Filing your weekly claims

After I am approved, how and when do I file my weekly claims for EUC?
Filing EUC weekly claims is the same as for regular benefits: use the Internet or use the automated service on the weekly claims line (800-318-6022, option 1).

Benefits

How quickly will I receive a benefit check?
If you qualify, your benefits will begin as soon as we approve your application and you file your weekly claims.

How much money will I receive? 
Before applying any federal sequestration reductions (see next question), here's how we calculate the total amount of money you may receive within each tier of EUC.

  • Tier 1 ~ The maximum benefits payable (before applying the sequestration reduction) is the lesser of:
    • 14 times your average weekly benefit amount; or
    • 54 percent of your final maximum regular benefits payable.

    Not everyone qualifies for 14 weeks of benefits. Fifty-four percent of your final maximum benefits payable on your regular claim may result in fewer than 14 weeks of tier 1 EUC.

  • Tier 2 (prior to the sequestration reduction) pays the lesser of:
    • 14 times your average weekly benefit amount; or
    • 54 percent of your final maximum regular benefits payable.

    Not everyone qualifies for the full 14 weeks of benefits. Fifty-four percent of your final maximum benefits payable on your regular claim may result in fewer than 14 weeks of additional EUC.

  • Tier 3 (prior to the sequestration reduction) pays the lesser of:
    • 9 times your average weekly benefit amount; or
    • 35 percent of your final maximum regular benefits payable.

    Not everyone qualifies for the full 9 weeks of benefits. Thirty-five percent of your final maximum benefits payable on your regular claim may result in less than 9 weeks of additional EUC.

    How does the federal sequester affect my EUC benefits?
    The federal sequester law that took effect in March 2013 required us to reduce EUC weekly benefits as follows.

  • If you began claiming benefits in any tier of EUC from May 19 through Sept. 28, 2013, your weekly benefit amount was reduced by 21.08 percent.
  • If you finished a tier after Sept. 28, 2013 (the end of the federal fiscal year), the reduction remains in effect until you finish the tier.
  • If you begin claiming EUC tier 1 after Sept. 28, 2013, no reduction will be applied.
  • If you move from EUC tier 1 to EUC tier 2, or from tier 2 to tier 3 after Sept. 28, 2013, you will return to your original weekly benefit amount (without any reduction).

To estimate the amount of your benefit reduction due to the federal sequester, multiply your pre-sequester weekly benefit (the amount you received while on regular benefits) by 0.7892: pre-sequester weekly benefit x 0.7892 = new weekly benefit amount. We will mail you a "Statement of Wages and Hours" after we set up your EUC claim - and another when we recalculate your benefits to deduct the sequester reduction (if it applies to you). The statement will provide full details about your weekly benefit and the total amount available to you within the EUC tier.

The "Statement of Wages and Hours" I received in the mail states that I am not eligible for EUC. Why don’t I qualify? 
The reasons you don’t qualify may include:

  • You originally applied for unemployment benefits before May 7, 2006, which was before the EUC eligibility period started; or
  • The total wages on your original claim are less than 40 times your weekly benefit amount; or
  • The total wages on your original claim are less than 1.5 times your high-quarter base-year earnings; or
  • You do not run out of regular benefits by Dec. 21, 2013.

If I disagree, what can I do?
If you disagree with the "Statement of Wages and Hours," you can ask for a redetermination. To request a redetermination, call the EUC claims center at 877-558-8509 (toll-free) to speak to an agent.

If you disagree with the redetermination, you may appeal it. An appeal is a signed written letter of disagreement with our decision. Send your appeal to:

Claims Center Appeals
PO Box 19018
Olympia, WA 98507-0018

Fax: 800-301-1795

The appeal hearing is scheduled by the Office of Administrative Hearings, a separate agency. See Your Right to Appeal for more information.

You may not appeal the fact that your claim is subject to the federal sequester, nor the required monetary reduction. This is not an issue upon which the Office of Administrative Hearings has any discretion, since it is set by federal law. However, you may appeal how the reduction of your EUC was calculated.

Job-search activities

Do I document my job-search activities while I'm waiting to see if my application is approved?
Yes. You must document at least three qualifying job-search activities each week.

What are the job-search requirements while I am getting EUC?
The same as regular benefits (see page 15 of the Handbook for Unemployed Workers). You must:

  • Make at least three employer contacts during each week claimed, or
  • Participate in three approved, in-person job-search activities at your local WorkSource office, or
  • Make a combination of employer contacts and in-person job-search activities, for a total of three.

You must record your job-search activities on your job-search log. We may call you into a local WorkSource office to verify your job search.

If you are approved for Training Benefits, Commissioner-Approved Training (CAT) or the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you do not have to meet the job-search requirements if you are making satisfactory progress in your training program.

I get work through my union. Do I have to look for other work outside of the union to receive EUC?
No. If you are in good standing with a referral union that participates in our program and you meet the union’s dispatch requirements, you don’t have a work-search requirement for EUC. We will verify your status with your union.

If I am on standby with my employer, do I have to look for other work while on EUC?
If we have approved you for standby, you satisfy the job-search requirement. If you do not return to work when your standby ends, you must start meeting the job-search requirements above. We will approve no more than eight weeks of standby during your claim. If you have not returned to work with your employer after eight weeks, you must comply with the job-search requirements described above and report for all scheduled WorkSource appointments.

If you’re in approved training

I have been approved for training benefits. Do I need to apply for EUC?
Yes. We are required to pay you EUC before training benefits. If you do not apply for EUC, your benefits may be delayed or denied. If you have been approved for training benefits but you are still receiving regular benefits, you will need to apply for EUC when your regular benefits end.

If you are not eligible for EUC because you qualify for a new claim, you will have the option of filing the new claim or continue drawing training benefits.

Can I continue to receive Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) instead of EUC?
No. We must pay EUC before TRA. We will mail an application packet to you if it appears you may qualify for EUC. We will review your application and make a decision about the status of your payments.

Will my weekly benefit amount be restored to the higher amount if I finish EUC and start training benefits or TRA benefits?
Yes. Training benefits and Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) are not reduced. The federal sequester law applies only to the EUC benefit reductions.

Other financial assistance

After I run out of EUC benefits, does the state offer any other program to provide income support until I find work?
If you don’t qualify for training benefits or Trade Readjustment Allowances, then there are no other income-support programs available through Employment Security. It’s possible you qualify for social services through the Department of Social & Health Services. If you need assistance with housing, food, healthcare or other basic needs, dial 2-1-1 (or visit www.211.org) for more information.

Deadlines and extensions

When does EUC end?
Dec. 22-28, 2013, is the last week for which you can claim any EUC benefits. No EUC benefits may be paid for subsequent weeks, even if you have a balance remaining.

Is Congress planning to extend the EUC program again?
We don't know.  If Congress approves an extension after the Dec. 28 expiration, we will post information on our website and notify those who have an EUC balance remaining.

Employer information

I’m an employer. How does EUC affect my experience rating and benefit charges?
EUC does not affect your experience rating or benefit charges. It is 100 percent federally funded. You will not receive a “Notice to Base-Year Employer” (EMS 166). If you are a reimbursable employer, you will not be billed.

Additional questions?

If your question was not answered, you can call the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) claims center at 877-558-8509 (toll-free).  Due to staff reductions, please be prepared for long wait times.

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