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May 22, 2020

Fraud concerns remain as jobless benefit claims grow

  • The state put a hold on all payments for up to two days last week while it took additional steps to verify claims.
  • By RACHEL LA CORTE
    Associated Press

    OLYMPIA — More than 1.1 million people in Washington have filed for unemployment benefits since businesses started closing in March due to COVID-19, but state officials said Thursday that they believe some portion of an increase in claims seen in the past week are due to fraudulent claims.

    More than 1.6 million claims for unemployment benefits — with some of that number reflecting people who filed multiple claims — were filed for the week of May 10-16, and more than $1 billion was paid last week to 565,764 individual claims. To date, the state has paid out nearly $3.8 billion in benefits, including federal money that is providing the unemployed with an additional $600 per week on top of the state's weekly maximum benefit of up to $790 per week.


     
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