Eye On Olympia

Speaking of cash...

As some states nervously eye their dwindling unemployment-insurance coffers, the woman in charge of Washington's system has this message for workers fearing layoffs: no worries.

Washington unemployment trust fund -- a pool of money paid into by employers, then tapped to send checks to newly-jobless workers -- "is in good shape," state employment security commissioner Karen Lee said recently. "In fact, it's the largest and one of the healthiest in the nation."

The fund has more than $4 billion in it, which the Employment Security Department says is enough to pay nearly two years of benefits during a severe recession.

More than 200,000 Washingtonians have gotten payments so far this year.

The average check, according to the ESD, is $350 a week. The maximum: $541 a week.

To apply for benefits online: go to this Employment Security Department site




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