Unemployed Due to Coronavirus Pandemic? Here’s Where to Get Help

By United Way of King County Posted on March 12, 2020 In News

The coronavirus continues to impact our entire region. Our hearts go out to those who have lost their jobs or seen reductions in hours – including our friends at Tom Douglas Restaurant Company and the many artists and seasonal workers who are impacted by canceled events, as well as people of color, who disproportionally experience poverty due to systemic discrimination. 

Washington state has adopted a series of emergency rules to relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation and quarantine for workers and businesses. The Employment Security Department has developed this handy chart to show which benefits you may be eligible for. We also expect federal and state policies that will provide additional relief. We will share those resources as they become available.

Here are some resources that are available right now:

  1. Apply for Unemployment Benefits. Unemployment benefits are made available through taxes paid by your former employer(s) to partially replace your regular earnings and help you meet expenses while you look for another job. These benefits are intended to assist workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are not based on financial need.
  2. Apply for Health Insurance:  Washington Healthplanfinder In response to the potential growth of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange announced a limited-time special enrollment period for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance. This special enrollment period, which runs through April 8, 2020, will allow uninsured individuals 30 days to enroll in health insurance coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder. Language assistance and disability accommodations are provided at no cost.
  3. See what other benefits you are eligible for through Washington Connection Washington Connection offers a fast and easy way for families and individuals to apply for a variety of services such as food, cash, child care, long-term care, and Medicare Savings Programs.
  4. Access transportation help through Orca LIFT While travel may be limited in the days and weeks to come, we encourage you to see if you are eligible for transportation assistance to help you get to school, work, and anywhere else you need to go. ORCA LIFT is a great resource for eligible King County residents.
  5. Call 211 or visit their website If you need help accessing food, social services, or other emergency assistance, 211 is your one-stop shop for community resources. They can help you find community-based programs that are available and you are eligible for.
  6. File Your Taxes If you haven’t already filed your taxes – now is the time to do so. You may be eligible for a refund that can help provide a financial cushion. While United Way of King County Free Tax Preparation sites are temporarily closed, we are working on alternate ways to assist filers via phone or online. You may have additional time to file your taxes. The federal government is working on extending the April 15 deadline for some taxpayers to a later time. We will update this information as soon as we have the details.
  7. Call your utility companies, credit card companies, and other lenders: Let folks know that you are impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Seattle won’t shut off water and electricity services during this emergency and others may follow their lead. Some creditors have hardship plans to account for when you are going through an emergency. Reach out to your credit card issuer, auto loan provider, or mortgage company to see what options are available to you.
  8. Free meals will be provided to students in the region. The lunches will be distributed at various times of the day, including breakfast and lunch hours. Students can pick up the food, but they cannot remain at the school.

In light of school closures, United Way is working on alternate plans to provide breakfast and lunch for families in our region. We will unveil those plans as they are finalized in the next few days.

We are exploring other ways we can help the members of our community who have been hit by this crisis the hardest.


Pat Becker
March 12, 2020

With Tom Douglas restaurants and many others closing temporarily, how about keeping a few folks working in these eating establishments, use inventory and stock there, then let athletes, musicians, arts folk and others not currently working deliver meals to so many kids whose only meal and nourishment normally comes from school meals - just an idea - if I were 25 years younger, I’d be trying to put something like this together - but have been retired 25 years and have some mobility and other problems - another possibility would be to send meals to so many seniors in County who cannot get out now to shop or eat at centers they often eat at
And thank you, United Way, for all you do - spent my life working in non-profit usually marginalized areas and programs and was always grateful for United Way and foundation and other help for programs —

March 14, 2020

How do we collect funds if our hours are cut at work because of the virus

Sarah C Morgan
March 15, 2020

I think it's great that they are making unemoloyment readily available for people. But unemployment doesn't cut it for a lot of people. They need their full incomes just to make ends meet. 60 percent of their earnings isn't going to pay their bills. I fear a lot of people are going to end up homeless because of this. I understand why they are doing what they are doing, but I believe it's too late to stop the outbreak from spreading. It's out there already and way more people are carrying it than we could possibly know. I think shutting everything down is only making a bad situation worse. They should have taken more precautions when it was first discovered. Now all they are doing is giving people some serious hardships to overcome.

March 16, 2020

HELP WITH RENT PAYMENTS https://www.commerce.wa.gov/serving-communities/homelessness/landlord-fund-programs/tenancy-preservation/

March 16, 2020

Many of us who are bartending or serving for a living have multiple jobs within the industry just to keep the gas on. We depend heavily on our cash tips for groceries and gasoline. We need help RIGHT NOW, not however long it takes to see if we are approved for unemployment benefits, and those benefits will be 60% of our minimum wage and tips claimed (how many people do you think actually tell the whole truth about their tip take home?)

March 16, 2020

It would be a great help to all if
1.we can have help to freeze/no mortgage/rent for 3 months
2.no utilities payment for 3 months
with restrictions of usage.
3.unemployment to cover our food or army to deliver our basic foods and needs
4 lock down for 3 weeks
5school on line
6people that can work at home, volunteer on line to help or readjust our way of life temporarily.
In return Our government can give tax credit to mortgage co. Utilities and food supplies.
All the billionaire can donate.
All who can afford to our calamity either get a tax credit or make it a contribution to our nation.
I believe we are scared not only for corona, the economy and the uncertainty.
If we can get some assurance that you are not going to loosebyour house/apartment. You have food to eat. Our immune system and mental health will be ok.

Sara Valizadeh
March 18, 2020

My family still needs help Six people in the home and not

Norman jordan
March 18, 2020

How does the goverment plan to help those that are unemployed and not receiving goverment assistance

Kristen Kalil
March 18, 2020

I had350.00 to my name when the restaurant closed.I have no more tips to make so i am terrified to let go of a penny.i cannot get groceries because i don't have the money.terrified i need food now,help today!!everyone hang in there.I am one of those people in tbe rest.bar indusry

March 19, 2020

I have filed my taxes, work 40+ hrs a week at the scuttlebutt bar and grill. I live in a motel because starting out it's rough to get first last and deposit to move into a place as of late. Motel 6 is the cheapest place in town and they are closing. And yet we are told this is an inconvenience. Hahaha. Tell this to family's like mine who don't die from the illness , but from forced homelessness.

March 27, 2020

I am a house painter, I’ve never been so slow I don’t know if it’s because people are afraid to have strangers in their home if anyone else in the trades are going through this could you please let me know. thank you stay safe

March 29, 2020

God help us!

March 29, 2020

I am self employed and been told that I cannot file for unemployment even though I pay all my taxes.

Tonya S Claypool
April 6, 2020

I work part time. I'm been serving for 29 years and have been denied unemployment in Ohio. I thought during the virus it was no fault of our own and no matter our pay or hours you could receive unemployment. I need to no what I can do

April 9, 2020

We at bossa buh- ruin have not reserved any money since lockdown but they have applied 4 it what can I do to take this ferther there no food in the house please help us at bossa buh- ruin

United Way of King County
April 9, 2020

Hi Jeandray, we are sorry to hear that! There is information about food services on our COVID-19 Resources page.

April 17, 2020

I think filling for taxes in such season is tricky but i think the sooner you do it the sooner you will get over!

Siraye Muche
December 24, 2020

I need help housing

United Way of King County
December 28, 2020

Hi Siraye, If you need help with rental assistance please take a look at our Rental Assistance page. We also have information about housing on our COVID-19 Resources page, under the tab that says "Rental and Utilities Assistance." If you still cannot find what you are looking for on those pages, please call 2-1-1 for more specific assistance.

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