Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Clarification

Washington REALTORS® recently provided the following clarification on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA):

QUESTION: Some counties in Washington State are now in Phase 2 or Phase 3 of the Safe Start plan, which allows limited opening of real estate offices so long as specific protocols are followed. If a county is in Phase 2 or Phase 3, do real estate brokers become ineligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?

ANSWER: No. A real estate broker may be eligible for PUA even if they are located in a county that has advanced to Phase 2 or 3. PUA eligibility is not determined by the specific phase of the state’s Safe Start plan, it is based on the PUA eligibility requirement of the federal CARES Act. If a real estate broker is unable to work full-time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are eligible to apply for PUA and can continue to claim PUA benefits even if their county moves into Phase 2 or Phase 3. Whether a specific person will receive PUA benefits, and how much, will depend on their income from real estate and other work, and other factors. It is important for real estate brokers to note that if they receive income after being paid PUA benefits, that additional income must be reported to ESD so that the PUA benefit amount can be recalculated. This could result in a repayment requirement from the real estate broker to ESD. As the state’s Safe Start plan continues, ESD will be making changes to the PUA program that could affect REALTORS® eligibility so please look to Get the Facts emails (on Tuesdays) or other emails we send for future guidance.

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