Housing payments are due now for most of us. For many of us, help is on the way. Most of us will receive a one-time stimulus check of $1200 or more. Maybe you also expect $600 additional dollars in each unemployment check. However, we don’t have that money now and we owe rent or mortgage payments now.
The good news is that there are three moratoriums on evictions during the pandemic. Washington State and Kitsap County both have blanket bans on evictions for failure to pay rent. The new federal legislation covers housing secured under federal programs.
Here’s what we know about unemployment benefits now
Washington State has more generous unemployment benefits than many states. In addition, the new CARES Act both covers workers usually not covered and adds an additional $600 to each payment through the end of July 2020. Check out this helpful Q&A on unemployment claims during the pandemic. Their answers cover gig workers, parttime workers and many of the ways COVID-19 is disrupting employment. That includes options for people with COVID-19, as well as people who care for someone with the virus or cannot work because your children’s schools are closed.
While benefits are more generous, the Employment Security Department is inundated with claims and struggling to process them quickly. It’s best to sign up for their COVID-19 updates.
Are you a gig worker, self-employed or work fewer hours than usually needed to qualify for unemployment? You may soon be able to apply for COVID-19 unemployment insurance payments. That’s the advice of Washington State Employment Security. The CARES Act, a part of the new federal stimulus legislation, covers many workers not usually eligible. Just signed into law the state is still translating the legislation to fit with our own rules and procedures.
Employment Security expects to be ready to accept your applications by mid-April. The fact that the system is not ready does not count against you. Benefits start on the date you are eligible, rather than the date you apply.
The best way to determine when to file is to sign up for the state COVID-19 action alert.
Of course, if you already qualify for unemployment relief under current state laws, apply now. As you may have heard, an additional $600 per week will be added to each unemployment check through July 31, 2020.
The Kitsap County Treasurer announced a temporary extension of the property tax deadline until May 31, 2020. Treasurer Meredith Green encourages every person and business to pay property taxes now if they can. Importantly, these payments support the essential and emergency services we all require. However, she acknowledged that these are unusual times. “Kitsap County will temporarily extend the property tax deadline for residential and commercial taxpayers to May 31, 2020. Continue reading
While we all wait for the federal government to implement the latest stimulus package, The Washington Post provided this quick calculator to determine the size of the individual stimulus checks. Most citizens will receive a Coronavirus stimulus check. However, you do have to have filed a federal tax return for 2018 or 2019, unless you collect Social Security. The wealthy and those who are dependants on another’s tax return will not receive a check. The Post story contains more details.
The State of Washington created a handy chart for worker benefits. This chart of state worker benefits was created prior to new federal laws. The chart covers paid sick leave, unemployment benefits, paid family leave, in addition to workers’ compensation. Click on Read More to see the chart.
by Michele Taylor, criminal defense attorney
You may have questions about how our criminal courts are operating during the pandemic. Both Kitsap County District Court and Kitsap County Superior Court closed for routine business in March through April 24, 2020. Below is the key COVID-19 criminal courts information for this time.
You have a bench warrant
by John Groseclose and Larry Lofgren
People are inquiring about visitation in this time of crisis. The question of child custody is perhaps the most emotional and difficult question courts have to decide. When parents cannot agree, often children are put in the middle. At GS Jones Law Group, we remind our clients that, not only do courts focus on what the best interest of the child is (not what’s “fair” to the parent), we genuinely care for the welfare of children.
Call now to set up a Tuesday phone consultation with our labor lawyer! The spread of the novel Coronavirus is affecting a lot of businesses and employees. We expect that a lot of people will have questions for our employment attorney, Chalmers Johnson. As quarantine measures get stricter, coming to an office for face to face meetings is not going to be safe. Chalmers usually only meets prospective clients in person. However, during this difficult and uncertain time, he recognizes that he may be needed more than ever and has agreed to be accessible for COVID-19 related consults by phone on Tuesdays from 9 am to 4 pm. Continue reading
Washington State’s law on sick pay can be a real force for containing the Coronavirus here. Now is a great time to review your compliance and consider what changes this emergency requires. Consider whether you need to make your sick and family leave policies more generous temporarily.
Summary of our state paid sick leave law