Washington state will spend $54M to help gig workers

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state will spend $54 million to provide one-time payments to nearly 100,000 gig and self-employed workers cut off from unemployment benefits because of the impasse over the federal COVID-19 relief and spending bill. Gov. Jay Inslee announced Sunday that the payments of $550 each, roughly the equivalent of two weeks’ worth of benefits, will be issued later this week. They will go to people who have been receiving benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which was set up to provide unemployment benefits to workers who normally do not qualify for them. The program expired Saturday.