SEATTLE (AP) – About 55,000 Washingtonians may have to pay back thousands of dollars in jobless benefits.

The Seattle Times reports Cami Feek, the state Employment Security Department’s new acting commissioner, updated state lawmakers Thursday Washington’s response to pandemic-related job losses.

Feek told a Senate work session that the department will be working with the 55,000 claimants who’ve received repayment notifications after failing to respond to agency requests for information and being ruled ineligible for benefits already received.

Although the ESD has paid more than $15 billion to hundreds of thousands of workers since the start of the pandemic, “we know that many have been left out,” Feek said.

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