A motion filed this week in the lawsuit against the Employment Security Department could soon see the ESD forced to pay unemployment benefits to the tens of thousands of workers waiting on them.
The lawsuit, filed in the Washington State Supreme Court earlier this month by nonprofit law firm The Unemployment Law Project and two Washington workers, asks that Employment Security promptly communicate with and pay unemployment benefits to every claimant waiting on them. Over 70,000 laid-off workers have not yet received unemployment benefits, including some who were laid off as far back as March.
The Motion for Accelerated Review and Immediate Relief demands that the department immediately be made to pay out unemployment benefits without further delay, stating that “the procedural nightmare at ESD is an affront to dignity.”
“There’s extremely long delays, it’s very hard to get through [on the phone], there’s incredibly confusing communication, the end result of which is tens of thousands of people who haven’t gotten a single bit of unemployment benefits since March,” said Sage Wilson, a spokesperson for workers’ rights group Working Washington.
Why Washington was a target for unemployment fraud
The current situation, he said, is especially distressing for people out of work because many do not even have a rough estimate of when they can plan on receiving their money.
This can force them to make drastic and sometimes unhealthy decisions. Wilson said he knows of one immuno-compromised bartender in Vancouver, Washing who lost his job in March when the stay-at-home order closed bars. Because he has

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