How To Apply For Unemployment In Washington

Unemployment insurance benefits in Washington State are processed and maintained by the Employment Security Department. They are meant to be a temporary relief measure to assist unemployed workers in meeting their financial obligations and needs while searching for work. You can begin the process of filing your claim by reading the information below:

Unemployment insurance is a fund paid for by employers and there is no cost for you to apply for weekly benefits payments, but you do need to meet the criteria outlined in the following sections. Read through this carefully before clicking any links.

Basic Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits in Washington State, you must have worked in the state during the past eighteen months and your most recent job must have been in the state. The minimum number of in-state hours you’re required to have on the books is six hundred eighty (680). You can also qualify if you’re being discharged from the military and are a Washington State resident. You’ll need your Form DD-214 to prove eligibility. You’ll also need:

  • A Valid Social Security Number
  • Washington State Driver’s License or State ID
  • W2 from Last Year and Most Recent Paystub

Another qualification for unemployment insurance benefits is that you be unemployed through no fault of your own. The reason for your separation should be a lay-off or military discharge. Voluntary quits and getting fired for punitive reasons will likely disqualify you from collecting unemployment insurance weekly benefits, but you do have a right to appeal.

Calculating Your Weekly Benefits Amount

The maximum weekly benefits payment in Washington State is $790 per week and the minimum is $188 per week. Your payment amount is calculated using a “base period” that consists of the first four of the last five quarters you received eligible wages. For wages to be eligible, they must have been paid to you by a registered UI-insured employer.

If you don’t have the required quarters, the ESD will use an alternate base period of the last four quarters you worked. Once your claim has been approved, you will be required to file weekly claims reports and confirm your willingness and physical ability to work if a job is offered. You’re also required to look for work and accept full time job offers.

Unemployed Worker Handbook and Benefits Webinars

The Employment Security Department has posted several resources to help you better understand the rights and responsibilities of filing and collecting unemployment insurance benefits. One of these is the Unemployed Worker Handbook. The handbook is available in multiple languages and is a comprehensive guide to all unemployment-related issues.

Another resource worth checking out is a series of webinars sponsored by the Employment Security Division. These are typically done three times per day and are titled “Introduction to Unemployment Insurance.” If you’re filing for unemployment insurance for the first time, or even if you’ve done this before, you should check out the webinar. Unemployment insurance guidelines change all the time and the webinar content is continually updated.

Washington Unemployment Insurance Program

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