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Washington state mobilizes National Guard to sort out unemployment system errors

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 3/21/2021 David Matthews

The state of Washington called in the National Guard to assist with a backlog in its unemployment system.

According to The Columbian, the state Employment Security Department, with the help of 50 National Guard troops, will start contacting thousands of residents who received overpayment notices. According to the state agency, as many as 55,000 people may have received jobless benefits they were not eligible for.

However, many of the recipients have disputed that they were not eligible and have already received harshly worded notices about repayment.

a sign on the side of a building: According to The Columbian, the state Employment Security Department, with the help of 50 National Guard troops, will start contacting thousands of residents who received overpayment notices. According to the state agency, as many as 55,000 people may have received jobless benefits they were not eligible for. © ALEX EDELMAN According to The Columbian, the state Employment Security Department, with the help of 50 National Guard troops, will start contacting thousands of residents who received overpayment notices. According to the state agency, as many as 55,000 people may have received jobless benefits they were not eligible for.

According to The Columbian, the state Employment Security Department, with the help of 50 National Guard troops, will start contacting thousands of residents who received overpayment notices. According to the state agency, as many as 55,000 people may have received jobless benefits they were not eligible for. (ALEX EDELMAN/)


Video: State Audit Finds 'Significant Deficiencies' In Unemployment Insurance Claims (CBS Denver)

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“If you don’t repay the full amount or we don’t receive a payment … by Mar 30 2021, we will start legal action against you in superior court,” reads one such notice.

Others have reported threats of court action, garnished wages, and property liens.

ESD spokesperson Nick Demerice told The Columbian that the state was not actually starting legal procedures against anymore who may or may not have been paid extra jobless benefits and many of the people who received notices just needed to verify some biographical information to resolve the dispute.

According to data, the unemployment rate in Washington state is still around twice as high as it was this time a year ago.

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