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Oso mudslide victims have a week left to request disaster unemployment benefits

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The Employment Security Department announced yesterday that the deadline for employees and self-employed folks that lost their jobs or saw a significant loss in work hours due to the Oso disaster have until May fifth to apply for disaster unemployment benefits. Starting on March 23 or later, eligible applicants can receive benefits between $194 to $624 per week for lost work time.

Qualified people could include the following:

  • People who are unable to work because they experienced an injury from the disaster.
  • Self-employed folks and people that owned companies that became unable to function because of the disaster.
  • Employees whose place of work was damaged, demolished, or unreachable due to a road or business closure.
  • Folks that were kept from starting a new job.
  • People employed by a business that obtained most of its income from another business that was demolished or damaged in the landslide.
  • Employees that did not have enough base-year hours to meet the requirements for regular benefits.
  • Folks who became the head of their households due to a death caused by the landslide.

As a reminder, this special disaster unemployment help is only available for folks that don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits and the absence of work or diminished work hours must have been a direct outcome from the landslide in Oso. Eligible applicants can apply by calling the special disaster phone line for claims, which is 1-855-636-5610, option one.

More information can be found on a special site set up by Employment Security that includes how to apply and what to have available, what to do if you’re unable to look for work, and how to handle if you were unable to file a claim due to the inability to gain access to a phone or Internet. The special site also includes information on options for businesses to consider such as the Shared-Work Program, using the standby for furloughed workers option, managing a mass layoff with the rapid-response service through WorkSource, and asking for respite from benefit charges stemming from a natural disaster.