Gov. Signs Ortiz-Self Bill Regarding Pandemic Unemployment Overpayment Interest

OLYMPIA – Washingtonians struggling with overpayment assessments and accruing interest on their pandemic unemployment benefits can find solace in House Bill 1975, sponsored by Representative Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo). This bipartisan legislation, which unanimously passed the House of Representatives and Senate, was signed into law by Governor Inslee today.

HB 1975 offers much-needed fairness to individuals impacted by unforeseen circumstances during the COVID-19 economic crisis. The pandemic’s economic hardship necessitated temporary unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, a lifeline for many Washingtonians. However, some recipients now face the burden of interest charges on unintended overpayments.

Recognizing this unintended consequence, House Bill 1975 steps in to provide relief. The bill achieves this by postponing interest on overpayment assessments for benefits received between February 2020 and September 2021, offering a grace period until January 1, 2025. Additionally, individuals who already paid interest on these overpayments will receive refunds or credits.

“Even after the pandemic, many Washingtonians are still feeling the pinch financially,” said Representative Ortiz-Self. “This bill helps those who relied on this vital assistance when they needed it most, ensuring they’re not punished for circumstances outside their control.”

The unanimous support for House Bill 1975 in both the Labor and Workplace Standards Committee, the House of Representatives, and Senate underscores its bipartisan appeal and the urgency of providing relief to affected individuals.

HB 1975 goes into effect on June 5, 2024, ninety days after adjournment of the legislature.

(Photo Credit: Legislative Support Services)