As over 70,000 people wait to begin receiving unemployment, others have suddenly stopped getting their benefits during the Employment Security Department’s fraud investigations.
Last month, the department revealed that it had accidentally paid out between $550 million and $650 million to fraudsters using the stolen identities of Washingtonians to make thousands of false claims. Since then, $350 million has been recovered — but in the meantime, thousands of claimants have found their accounts frozen as part of the investigation.
Shawna De La Rosa, a single mom of two teenage boys, is one of the thousands of people still locked out from her unemployment account after the fraud attack.
Motion filed to force Employment Security to pay Washington claimants immediately
De La Rosa was furloughed from her reporting job in May, and received three weekly unemployment payments before her account was locked in early June. Since then, she hasn’t gotten a dime — or any word of when she will again.
“It’s definitely an emotional strain. I’ve lost a lot of sleep over it, just wondering, ‘What else should I do, what else should I think of?’” she said. “I mean, it’s hard enough just to lose your job.”
The Gig Harbor mom was asked by the ESD to upload documents to her unemployment account verifying her identity. The problem, De La Rosa said, is that she has no way of getting into her account with the lock on it.
“They sent me an email and said I had a deadline of sending in my stuff by June

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