The White House approved a request by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee for a federal disaster declaration Sunday, Inslee said in a tweet Sunday.
Inslee asked for the declaration in a letter to President Trump Friday to unlock a host of additional federal assistance programs for Washington residents affected by coronavirus, according to a statement from Inslee's office.
"We appreciate that the federal government has recognized the severity of the public health emergency in Washington state by declaring a major disaster and taking the first step toward additional assistance for Washingtonians," Inslee said. "However, today’s declaration does not unlock many forms of federal assistance we have requested to help workers and families who are badly hurting. We will continue working with our federal partners to deliver the full suite of disaster assistance that is sorely needed in our state, such as expanded unemployment benefits for workers who lose their paychecks as a result of the COVID-19 crisis."
The declaration grants the state’s request for assistance with crisis counseling and training to address the impact of the outbreak on the mental health of affected Washingtonians, Inslee's statement read. Other disaster assistance programs requested in Inslee’s letter remain under review by the White House, the statement read, including expanded unemployment assistance and basic food benefits.