A full listing of the Q&A from the call and additional questions submitted via the chat function.
Spokane County Business Resource Link: https://greaterspokane.org/covid-19/
Questions directed to the Spokane County Library District
Q: Just to confirm, the City of Spokane’s public library resources and the Financial Helpline are available to businesses and communities located outside of the City, in the County?
- A: Yes, the Financial Hotline is a regional resource, open to the entire country. Just to clarify, however, the City of Spokane’s Resilience Loan Fund (link below) is just for businesses located in the city limits.
Questions to Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich
Q: Is there concern by local law enforcement with the release of the 1,100 inmates, and is there coordination from the State, DOC and local jurisdictions on the process?
- A: Yes, there is a lot of concern from the Spokane Sheriff’s office about releasing these criminals, especially the violent offenders, back into society. Additionally, there has been a lack of coordination from the state officials regarding these prisoners that they release.
Q: What state department/official is making policy decisions on which offenders are being released?
- A: The decision to release prisoners is coming from the Governor’s office and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.
Employment Security Department Questions
Q: Is there a chance the PUA funds could be exhausted because of the overwhelming demand?
- A: Unemployment Benefits are not like loans, and they do not exhaust. PUA benefits come directly from the Department of Labor and they will not exhaust. It is extended to the end of the year.
Q: Do the self-employed persons qualify for the extra $600 per week?
- A: Yes, everyone receiving unemployment will be receiving the additional $600 a week including those eligible for PU
Q: Are there any conversations happening regarding a solution for those employers struggling to rehire because employees are now making more on unemployment with the additional $600.
- A: Companies that have offered employees their jobs back because of PPP or other funding coming, and those employees have refused because of higher pay on unemployment, should turn that in to ESD using the employer portal on their website. Higher pay on unemployment is not a sufficient enough reason to refuse a job offer and still receive unemployment benefits under ESD’s criteria that is still in place.
Q: Are the PUA funds federally taxed and will appear on the 1099.
- A: Yes, PUA funds are federally taxed, and if you would not like the taxes withheld then you can identify that on your application.
Q: We file a schedule F and are on extension for 2019 tax filing What docs can I send in?
- A: One of the forms that ESD accepts is the IRS Schedule F form, so you can just turn that in.
Q: We are being encouraged to get approved for PPP and get our employees beck on our payroll, but many of our employees are realizing that they are making more money through unemployment than they will be if they go back on our payroll. What are your thoughts on how to deal with this?
- A: If an individual is offered work that will not break stay at home work. They are still required to be able and available to work, that is a requirement that they have not removed.
Q: How do employers navigate when employees don’t want to come back to work with COVID-19 safety concerns?
- A: ESD would have to go through an adjudication process to see if they still qualify for benefits in this situation. If you have work available for and they refuse, then ESD needs to know that in order to look at their eligibility again to deny benefits if necessary.
Q: I Filed for PUA. Received notice $0 eligible, and I can’t get through phone to ESD. How do I go about solving this?
- A: Check your online account, and if you are not eligible for regular unemployment the system will allow you to apply for PUA. At that point you would be eligible to receive PUA if you qualify. You can find whether or not you qualify here: https://esdorchardstorage.blob.core.windows.net/esdwa/Default/ESDWAGOV/Unemployment/UIEligibilityChecker.pdf
Q: We have several P/T employees, IC’s, and exempt (self employed) workers how long will they probably wait to be contacted?
- A: ESD is working as fast as they can using their enhanced system to handle the increased case load. You should expect to hear from ESD soon regarding your claims.
Q: For S Corporation shareholders (not LLCs) that own more than 10% and take wages, are they eligible for the expanded benefits if they haven’t elected in previously? If so, would their income be based on W-2 wages or K-1 passthrough income.
- A: You may be eligible if you meet one of the requirements. You can find the requirements for PUA here: https://esdorchardstorage.blob.core.windows.net/esdwa/Default/ESDWAGOV/Unemployment/UIEligibilityChecker.pdf