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Washington State Sets Unemployment Benefit to $0 by making up job title

Notice: Fictional Name Used at Request of the claimant.

“Gov. Jay Inslee announced the expansion of state policies today to support workers and businesses financially impacted by COVID-19.” From the March 10, 2020 announcement.

Let’s see how the state supports Diane.

Earlier this year Diane broke her ankle. She was finally able to get back to work. And then Coronovirus began to spread. The talent agency she worked for as an administrative assistant decided to shut down to reduce exposure from the public and because of a slow down. Diane was laid off.

The day before Governor Inslee announced the stay-at-home order (March 23, 2020), Diane went to the State’s Employment Security Department (ESD) website to apply for unemployment. During that application she reported her position as an administrative worker.

Diane received a response dated March 24, 2020 from Employment Security. Her monetary determination was $0 for benefits. Why? According to the determination, “You applied for unemployment benefits using wages you earned as an athlete. We can’t use those wages on your claim to pay you benefits between seasons if you have reasonable assurance you will return to work as a professional athlete.”

On March 30, 2020 ESD confirmed to Diane that she indeed did apply as an administrative worker. Where did the athlete, professional athlete, seasonal worker come from? They had no idea.

Turning a daily administrative office worker into a seasonal athlete certainly is a creative way to set benefits to zero.

When asked about the conversion of administrative office worker to “professional athlete” Nick Demerice of ESD simply said: ” There is  an appeals process I would encourage Diane to utilize if she feels her claim was wrongly decided. That process is outline [sic] on our website here: https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/benefit-denials-and-appeals. “

Wrongly decided indeed, by ESD making false statements. So now it is Diane’s responsibility to refute the false information ESD stated. Maybe it is just a “feeling” problem? What a scummy attitude ESD has.


Getting Around ESD Blockade

Trouble getting through to Washington State Employment Security Department? Here are some suggestions, valid as of March 29, 2020.

Find your representatives to Olympia, write email with details. Beg for help. Start here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Send an email to the ESD Commissioner. Start here: https://contact.wa.gov/?last=levine&first=suzi

Send an email to the ESD Deputy Commissionere. Start here: https://contact.wa.gov/?last=feek&first=cami

More people on the ESD Organizational Chart.