How to file for unemployment in Washington state

When you lose your work due to no fault of your own, unemployment benefits offer you a temporary source of income. The money will help you pay your bills while you seek new work and will partially replace your lost wages. Benefits from taxes paid by your previous employer(s) are not dependent on financial need. While you are receiving benefits, it is your responsibility to return to work as soon as feasible.

How to apply for unemployment benefits

The best and quickest way to apply is on the internet. You can apply over the phone, however, because to COVID-19, wait times are extremely long. You are unable to apply in person at this time. The actions outlined below will assist you in completing the process.

The first step is to determine your eligibility.

If you’re unemployed and aren’t sure if you’re qualified for unemployment benefits, you should still apply. Please fill out the application to the best of your ability, and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Step 2: Put it into action

We’re dealing with a lot of calls right now. Please apply online if at all possible to save time and receive financial assistance as soon as possible.

To protect your security, the system will time out after 15 minutes of application. Apply seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We recommend that you use a laptop or desktop computer rather than a smartphone or tablet.


Step 3: After you apply

We will notify you if your application has been approved and let you know how much money you will receive and what to do next. You will also be notified if you are not approved.

Other important information

  • Submit your weekly claims.
  • Report honestly.
  • Watch for and read any information we send you. If you chose to receive information via eServices, we will email you when there’s new information that requires your attention. This information may be time-sensitive and affect your eligibility for benefits.
  • Sign up for a direct deposit or a debit card to receive your weekly benefits faster and more securely.
  • Start your job search.
  • Read the Unemployed Worker Handbook to learn about the requirements.

Step 4: Start looking for work.

Unemployed persons are usually forced to look for jobs and keep track of their progress. The governor, with the agreement of the legislature, suspended the job search requirement at the onset of the epidemic as a result of the COVID-19 problem. Since then, the suspension has been prolonged.

With the economy improving, the need to look for work has resurfaced. This implies that in order to keep your unemployment benefits, you must hunt for work and document at least three permitted job search actions each week.