Washington Unemployment Information – Benefits, Eligibility etc.
The Employment Security Department has made filing for unemployment in Washington very simple and quick. If you meet the eligibility requirements and complete the online form, you can start receiving your benefits while you look for new employment.
In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Washington, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have at least 680 hours of employment in your base year
- You must have been employed in Washington
- You must be unemployed through no fault of your own. Examples of this include being laid off, your company went out of business, or a lack of available work.
- You must live in Washington
There are certain conditions in which you may still be eligible for benefits even if you quit your job.
- Working conditions were intolerable
- Your job or working environment posed a serious threat to your health/safety
- You were being sexually harassed
How to apply
You can apply for unemployment benefits in Washington by phone or online. If you would like to apply over the phone, you can call the claims center at 800-318-6022 (TTY 800-365-8969) Monday-Friday from 8am to 5pm.
To file your claim online, visit https://fortress.wa.gov/esd/webic/intropage.aspx?Lang=en-us. The first step will be to answer the 3 questions listed on the introductory page. This will let you know whether or not you are eligible. If you are unsure of any of the initial 3 questions, you can call the claims center at the number listed above.
Before you file your claim, you should have the following information available:
- Your social security number
- Your contact information (it may help to have your driver’s license handy)
- Information of all of your previous employers for the past 2 years (names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates employed at each employer). If you had more than 16 employers in the past 2 years, you must call the claims center to apply.
- Your approximate gross monthly pay from each employer
- The name and local number of your labor union (if applicable)
- Your SF-8 and SF-50 form if you were a federal employee for the past 2 years
- Your DD-214 form if you were in a branch of the military for the past 2 years
- Your alien registration number if you are not a U.S citizen
When filing online, you must receive a confirmation number when you are done. If you do not see a confirmation number, then the application has not been submitted properly.
You can view a sample online
application here to get an idea of what the process is like and what questions are asked. You may also see a list of the questions asked when you apply by phone here .
In order to file for an extension, you must apply over the phone by calling the EUC/EB Unit at 1-877-588-8509.
When you receive your letter of determination, it will include instructions on how to appeal the decision. It is important to note that you will be required to submit detailed information as to why you are appealing and you may be asked to complete a phone interview.
You can submit your written appeal to:
Claims Center Appeals
P.O. Box 19018
Olympia, WA 98507
Or Fax: 800-301-1795
Your determination letter will detail how much you will get paid and how long you can collect benefits. Washington has a higher maximum weekly benefit amount than many states. You can receive up to $624 per week. The minimum weekly payout is $148, which is well above the average of many other states. Your benefits will either arrive by check or through direct deposit. You can sign up for direct deposit here .
The amount that you will be eligible to receive will depend on the income from your base year. The ESD uses the information gathered from your employer(s) to determine how much you earned during your base year. Your base year is the first four quarters of the last five completed calendar quarters before you filed your claim. For more information on how to calculate your base year, you can view this page .
The maximum duration for which you can receive benefits is 52 weeks. However, the average claim lasts for 13-26 weeks. You will be required to actively seek employment and accept any suitable position you are offered. You may be required to provide proof of your job search at any time while you are receiving benefits.
You must certify (reapply) for benefits every week that you wish to receive them. Washington begins processing claims on Sunday. You can file your weekly claim online here. You may also file over the phone by calling the claims line at 800-318-6022, TTY 800-365-8969.
You will not receive any benefits until you file a weekly claim. You must file every week even if you are awaiting a decision about your benefits, appealing a determination, or waiting for your claim to be validated. You may file your weekly claim anytime between 12:01AM on Sunday to 5:00PM on Friday (the end of the working week).
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