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