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Updated : June 14th, 2023

Washington Unemployment Benefits

Washington Unemployment Benefits

The unemployment insurance benefits program in Washington helps unemployed workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own. It is a temporary financial assistance program provided by the Washington Employment Security Department.

Washington UI Benefits Calculator

The Washington Unemployment Benefits Calculator helps you estimate your UI weekly benefits amount.

UI Benefits Calculator
Calculate Your Washington Unemployment Benefits

See our Washington unemployment calculator to estimate your UI benefit payments.

Washington Unemployment Calculator

Eligibility To Apply For UI Benefits In Washington

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Washington, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria. The requirements are as follows:

  1. The reason for your separation from your job. This could be due to being laid off, quitting with a valid reason, being terminated without fault on your part, or still working part-time instead of full-time.
  2. Your mental and physical ability to work, as well as your availability. You cannot have any restrictions that would prevent you from accepting employment. For example, transportation, illness, vacations, or lack of family or child care could affect your ability to work.
  3. Your active and ongoing job search. It’s important to actively look for work on a weekly basis and keep a record of your job search activities. This ensures that you are actively seeking employment in occupations that you are both willing and able to work in.
  4. Your legal authorization to work in the United States and the weeks for which you are claiming benefits. It is necessary to have the proper legal documentation and authorization to work in the country during these periods.

Monetary eligibility

Your benefits are based on the money you earned during a specific time called the base period, rather than your financial need. The base period is the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters before you apply for benefits. You will need to have worked at least 680 hours during your base period in order to qualify for Washington UI benefits.

Job separation

Unemployment insurance aims to help people who are unemployed due to reasons they can’t control. Although you have the right to quit your job whenever you want, you won’t qualify for benefits if it’s determined that you left your previous job without a valid reason or if you were fired for misconduct related to your work.

Here are some examples of valid reasons for leaving your job:

  • You were laid off due to lack of available work
  • You were fired for reasons other than misconduct
  • You quit for good cause

Eligibility requirements – overview

Maintaining Eligibility

In order to maintain your eligibility for the Washington state unemployment insurance program, you will need to submit a weekly claim showing you are still unemployed and looking for work. You will need to do this for every week you would like to receive payments.

Your weekly claim will ask you questions about:

  • Were you physically able and available for work?
  • Did you search for new work?
  • Did you refuse any job offers?
  • Did you work for an employer?
  • Did you receive any income?
  • Did you perform any self-employment work?

Learn about WA job search requirements

How to Apply For UI Benefits in Washington?

You will need the following documents to file for Washington unemployment benefits:

You can apply for unemployment insurance online or by phone in the state of Washington. For both methods, you will need:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Name
  • Birthday
  • Contact information, including address, phone number, email address
  • Highest level of education
  • Contact information for all employers in the past 18 months
  • Dates worked for each employer
  • Name and local number of union, if applicable
  • DD-214, if a former military member
  • SF8, if a former federal employee
  • Citizenship status
  • Direct deposit information


You can apply for unemployment benefits 24 hours per day, seven days per week using the state’s eServices platform. Simply sign into your account using your SecureAccess Washington credentials, or create a new one by clicking the “Create new account” button and following the instructions on the screen.


If you don’t have access to the internet, you can apply for UI benefits by calling the UI claims center and speaking to a claims agent. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In an effort to reduce phone wait times, you will need to call on the day that corresponds to your Social Security number.

  • Monday—New applications for those with Social Security numbers ending in 0-3.
  • Tuesday—New applications for those with Social Security numbers ending in 0-6.
  • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday—Anyone can submit a new application for benefits.

Learn how to apply for UI benefits

How to File Weekly Claims

There are two ways to submit a weekly claim for benefits. The first is by logging into the eServices platform, the second is by calling the state’s UI claims center. You will need to create a PIN the first time you file by phone, and will need to use this PIN for each weekly claim you file thereafter.

In rare circumstances, the Washington Employment Security Department will allow you to file your weekly certifications on paper. You will need to call the claims center and speak to a specialist to make these arrangements if they are necessary for your situation.

Learn how to file weekly claims


Things To Know After Filing An Application

After you apply for benefits, it is crucial to stay organized in order to maintain your eligibility for unemployment insurance. Failure to adhere to these guidelines could result in disqualification from the program.

Here are some important points to remember:

Unemployment fraud

When you receive unemployment benefits, it is your responsibility to maintain the unemployment eligibility requirements established by the state of Washington. It is considered unemployment fraud when someone provides false or misleading information in order to receive or increase their unemployment compensation.


An overpayment is when you receive more benefits than you are entitled to. This can occur if you make a mistake on your application or if the department makes an error in calculating your benefits. If you do receive an overpayment, you will be required to repay the extra money back to the state.

Extended Benefit programs

Sometimes, Extended Benefits are offered to provide additional weeks of unemployment benefits beyond the usual duration. The decision to implement Extended Benefits is made by the state and federal governments, taking into account economic factors like high unemployment rates, natural disasters, and national pandemics.

Currently, the state of Washington is not participating in any Extended Benefit programs. Unemployment claimants can receive up to 26 weeks of unemployment compensation per benefit year or one-third of their gross base period earnings—whichever number is less.

Job training assistance

The Washington Employment Security Department provides a variety of job search resources through its American Job Center partner, WorkSource Washington. These resources include:

  • Commission Approved Training
  • Dislocated Workers Services
  • Veterans and Military Spouses
  • Self-Employment Assistance Program
  • SharedWork Program
  • Washington Training Benefits Program
  • Workshops and job fairs
  • and more

Find job training opportunities in WA


Washington unemployment contact information

If you require assistance or have inquiries regarding your unemployment claim, you can message the Washington Employment Security Department through your eServices portal or call the UI claims center.

If you’re looking for help finding a job or accessing job seeker resources, you will want to visit or call your local WorkSource Washington location.

Common Questions

Can I file for unemployment benefits if I am sick or on vacation?

You may not be eligible to file for unemployment benefits if you are sick or on vacation. To qualify for unemployment benefits, you generally need to be able and available to work. If you are unable to work due to illness or if you are on vacation, it could affect your eligibility for benefits.

Do I have to pay federal taxes on my unemployment benefits?

Yes, your unemployment benefits are subject to income taxes. When filing for Washington unemployment benefits, you have two options: you can opt to pay all taxes when you file your federal income taxes, or you can choose to have the department withhold 10% of your weekly benefit amount.

Washington state does not have a state income tax, so you will not have to pay state taxes on your unemployment income.

What is the maximum benefit amount I can receive?

The maximum weekly benefit amount you can receive from Washington unemployment is $999. This amount is based on how much you earned during your base period.

How do I end my claim after I get a full-time job?

When you find full-time employment, you can simply stop filing weekly claims and the Washington Employment Security Department will stop sending benefits. You do not need to let the department know that they need to stop payments.

Can I file for Washington unemployment benefits if I move to another state?

So long as the majority of your base period wages were earned in the state, you can file for Washington unemployment benefits. If the majority of your wages were earned in another state, you will need to file an unemployment claim with that state.

If you have wages earned in multiple states, you can file a combined wage claim, which can boost your weekly benefit amount.

Questions & Answers

  1. I have been filing my claim for six weeks. Providing ESD with all information requested and needed. 2 adjustors worked on my claim and approved me for PUA claim in which I never filed for a PUA, PUI Claim. Which I cannot be paid for 1. I never filed a claim 2. That program ended 9.4.2021. I AM NOT ABLE TO GET THROUGH TO ESD ADJUSTORS. THEIR PHONE LINES HAVE NOT BEEN ACCEPTING CALLS FOR 3 WEEKS. CLAIM REPRESENTATIVE AREN’T ABLE TO HELP ME AS MY CLAIM HAS BEEN PUSHED BACK INTO ADJUDICATION FOR THE 3RD TIME. AFTER 2 ADJUSTORS HAS HAD MY CLAIM AND PROCESSED A CLAIM I NEVER FILED BACK IN 2021. THIS IS FRAUD TO ME. HOW DO YOU PROCESS UNFILED CLAIMS UNDER MY NAME AND THEN PUSH BACK MY ACTUAL CLAIM. PENDING A 3RD ADJUDICATION

    • Sharmaine,

      Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible (you might be required to book an appointment prior to the website).

  2. My claim has been in adjudication for months. I finally got a letter yesterday of redertminatination and the status of all my past weekly claims have now changed to “paid”. However, the funds have not been directly deposited into my bank account yet. When should i expect to receive the funds?

  3. I won my appeal may 5 have been getting my uib. The employer was a no show at hearing. Received a letter today Aug 25 that they want a review can they do this


  5. My wife has stage 4 kidney cancer and was ordered by her doctor as well as her job to stay home because her treatment compromises her immune system. Do I qualify for unemployment if i need to quit my job and take care of her…shopping, get medicines, etc.?

  6. I live in Texas but I recently worked a job and was laid off in Washington. I was there for approx. 8 weeks on a turn around job. I got laid off last Thursday how do I file for my Washington benefits?

  7. My wife is off work on approved FMLA and may be out for the full 12 weeks, without pay. Her employer has told her that if she applies for unemployment, they will assume she has resigned, even if she is not resigning. Can they assume this as her intention is to return to work.

    • Brian,

      I am not really sure of a definite answer to your question. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for discussion with a Claims Representative.

  8. If i work per diem how do i show that on the weekly claim form? No options reflect that situation accurately.

  9. Hello,
    I’m working seasonally now. Am currently receiving WA State UI. My base year ends mid-Dec. 2018. If my benefits run out before the base year ends, can I file a valid/eligible, new claim before then? Thanks, Bob

    • Robert,

      UI benefits are not revolving in nature. You will only be able to claim for one full cycle. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

    • Sarah,

      If your employer is paying Unemployment Taxes into the system, you can claim. Please check with your employer.

  10. My benefit is “Exhausted” — I still have not found a job. Is there another option for me to collect funding?

    • Deborah,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  11. If you have worked in wa state for 20 years without a lay off then get laid off and draw unemployment for the maximum amount alotted then find a job and are laid off after 30 days can you start a new claim4

  12. When/how will I know if my application went through? I am not sure if I was supposed to go through the employer info, Since I am the employee? I thought I would have to explain the circumstances of why/how I became unemployed.

    • Charlotte,

      If you applied by phone, you can call the number and look out for a relevant option. If you filed on the internet, please log-in to check the claim status.

  13. my question is this-for family member: she is deaf (in one ear, and wears aid in the other), able to work (has been for long time). She was brought in to do clean up for a clinic through an agency. they the staffing agency and clinic are both aware of all of this. for past couple months all been good, till 2 weeks ago when her hearing aid fell in garbage disposal and was crushed. We have been trying to get new one for her (they are a lot of money if lucky $500-880 low side, to $2000+). We haven’t been able to get one yet.. she can and has been doing some of work that was doing before this happened….. but one part is getting on phone for at least 2 hours, not able to really do this… are they able to get rid of her, or does the ADA rules help protect her, and would she be able to get to get UI benefits if let go???

    • Sheri,

      I suggest you contact the Unemployment Office in your state to inquire further about the eligibility under these circumstances.

  14. I was let go after three months employment. The reason I was given was that Washington State is an at-will state, and that they were exercising their rights to terminate my employment. (I spoke with the other manager, and she said that she has been given my duties, that I was not replaced.) I filed for unemployment on July 10. I have completed the weekly job search and reported it every Monday morning. It’s been almost a month and I haven’t heard anything about my claim. How long does my former employer have to respond to my claim? (For the record, I am still waiting for a phone call from one of the owners to determine the actual reason for my termination. I don’t think I’ll ever hear from them again.)

    • Stephanie,

      It should not take so long. If your employer has raised a dispute, you will/should be informed about it. Please call the Claims Center immediately for an update.

  15. The company I have worked for going on 27 years is moving out of the area. I am not able to make the more than 50 mile commute. Can I claim after the close date of the company?

    • You should be able to. Please discuss with the Unemployment Office by a phone call before deciding on your employment.

  16. I was just notified that I am hired for a bus driver position but it doesn’t start for four months. Can I still draw unemployment until I start? And, will I still need to do job searches?

  17. My question is,I have been on short term disability due to an injury at home to my right rotator cuff in my shoulder. The Dr has had me off work since Oct 1 2016. At one point she wanted to let me return to work on light duty. At the grocery store I work I was told there is no light duty and they couldn’t let me return due to liability issues, so I haven’t been able to do the job I’ve been doing for 21years. Am I eligible for unemployment? And it looks like I won’t be returning until 4 months after surgery.

    • Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. UI benefits are only extended to those who’re able and available for work.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further details.

  18. I have been informed my employer, a Doctor, is retiring in the next month or so & closing his business. There is another Doctor looking to buy out his patients who may be offering me a part time position ( I currently work FT). This new Dr. would not be a good fit for me & I am looking for employment elsewhere. My question is: if I turn this job offer down, which I did not apply for, and then in a month or two when my current job is over I havent found a position & need to apply for unemployment will I be denied because I didnt take that offer? Thank you.

    • You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  19. I have filed of unemployment dated October 5, 2016. My last day of work was October 3, 2016. My query is do i file for the first time this week, or do i have to wait until next week to file for the first week?

    • Please wait for the authorities to confirm your eligibility and apply as per the instructions provided.

      You may call the Claims Center for further details.

  20. If my nanny was late 13 out of 37 days and called in sick 4 of those days, and was dishonest about who she was bringing around our daughter – saying her boyfriend was in rehab for weed but was actually in rehab for cocaine and is diagnosed bipolar and she would sneak around to see him, can i deny her unemployment for misconduct?

  21. I was on but unemployment, but landed a new job. Unfortunately, after 4 months of full-time work, I was laid off again. My benefit year ends in mid-April and I have five weeks of payments left on my current claim. If I use those five weeks, starting now, will I be eligible to open a new claim after April 16th?

    • Well, you may want to check with the Unemployment Office in your state to confirm the impact.

      Please call the claims center.


  23. I gave 2 weeks notice to my employer because I had received a better job offer from another company, and my then employer had reduced my hours from 40 to around 25 a week, and almost tripled my commute. My quit day was November 17th. I was going to start my new job on November 20th. As far as I know, I was already hired as the job offer was extended to my foreman and I. On November 19th I received a call that the contract fell through and that I would not be hired any longer. At this point I began claiming for unemployment. I told them I quit and for what reasons, answered the questionnaire, but have been waiting for a decision ever since. I believe I am eligible for multiple reasons, and because i wasn’t able to start my new job because of circumstances which were out of my control. Now that you have the context, my main question is: if and when I start a new job, but a decision hasn’t been made yet, will I be screwed out of all the weeks that I claimed, or will I receive the claimed weeks regardless of whether or not I started a new job before the final decision?

    • Yes, you will be.

      It can be illegal to apply for Unemployment Benefits while you’re on an active job contract. Consider applying only when they lay you off officially.

  24. So I unexpectedly had a baby (I know, that’s a whole nother topic) and had to take an emergency leave of absence since I was about 25 days shy of a year to take family medical leave. I was curious if I could claim unemployment for the time I’m off work an unable to take maternity leave?

    • You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  25. I have been working out of state for and employer. I was with out work for 2 weeks, approximate. Started getting unemployment and was later given a check for one day and travel pay for one of the weeks I claimed. I still have the check not deposited. What do I do? Send it back? At this time I am working again for the same employer.So have no time during the day to call wa state employment.

    • Sure please.

      Call the claims center on the phone numbers provided and either return it or destroy after notifying them.

  26. last time I worked in Washington was june of 2013. I was recently getting Oregon unemployment, but it ran out. and I am still looking for a job

  27. If I want to take a leave of absence to go through a training program and my employer approves it… would I be eligible for unemployment.

  28. Can I get unemployment if I was hired by a company located here in Washington (Unisea) but the work was done in Dutch Harbor, Alaska?

  29. I have been laid off and had to sign up for unemployment benefits. I did this once before, back in February, but had found another job right away. At that time, I only qualified for about $115 each check. I wasn’t able to speak with a human, so I am unsure of the amount I will be eligible for this time around (had to reopen my last claim since it was within the same year… does this mean I am only going to receive the amount I did last time?) I would also like to know if pursuing my GED qualifies as actively seeking work? (I would attend the preparation classes for the test). It’s not that I do not want to look for another job, I would just like to get my GED taken care of so that I can go to college, and get a more reliable job.

    • Generally, schooling is not considered as it does not let you apply for or consider work.

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information and apply if they allow GED.

  30. I was terminated from my church secretary job of 12 years due to “restructuring” of church staff. I know church workers don’t usually get unemployment benefits, but I previously had worked in retail for 24 years and unemployment was paid in for those years> Could I get some benefits?

    • I am afraid, you will not qualify since Unemployment Insurance is only provided to those who’ve had employment that qualifies during the “Base Period”.

  31. my unemployment benefit is almost done. Can I request an extension? due that I’m going to school to get a better opportunity to find a job. I’m trying to contact 1800-318-6022 but sadly not response or alive person who can answer my questions. Hopefully, I can get some time to extent my unemployment to keep going to school to able to pay de four buses that I m taking to get the skills that Im looking for to relocated myself and a better job.

    • The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

    • You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  32. I am returning to school in the fall and have been advised by my employer that they will not work with my schedule. When I was hired I told them my plans and stated they would work with me. 2 others have since been hired after me, going to school and my employer is working with their schedule. I advised my employer that I would like to continue working. Do I qualify for unemployment?

  33. I applied for a secretarial job at a local public school district that considers time off between school years as furloughs. Would I qualify for unemployment during the summer months that school is closed? What about during spring break and all the other unpaid school closures? I was told it’s a 260 work day schedule.

    • Some seasonal jobs that have a definite break do not qualify.

      Please inquire with the labor dept in your state.

  34. I have worked for 40 years and was laid off after 12 years 9/1/2013. I am still trying to find a job but at my age it is very difficult. It will be one year this September (2014) and am wondering if I qualify to reapply? Thanks.

  35. My husband was put on unpaid medical leave for having a mini seizure that was witnessed by his boss. The day it happened, they put him on leave. He has been actively seeking medical attention and the problem has been addressed but the doc sees no reason he can’t return to work. He is unable to drive and that was a big part if his job so hugs boss says he is too much if a liability and will not hire him back. Now that he can search for work, can he now apply for unemployment? We have had no income since Oct 2013.

    • I can understand the situation. Is he able to work or accept a lighter duty? If so, please consider applying for UI benefits whilst he looks for a job.

      UI is provided to those who are able and available for work.

  36. I was discharged for being tardy over an agreement that I never signed . I was then late the first day after the agreement and discharged for breaking there agreement. I applied for unemployment and 4 weeks later was denied. I talked with Washington unemployment phone person and they stated my employer didn’t deny me Washington state unemployment denied me because my reasons matched what my employer stated being discharged for being tardy but I didn’t say why I was tardy? how do I write an appeal to that I am broke paying 1k for rent plus 4 kids with no where to turn my income provided for all of us

    • Please call 800-318-6022(Labor department service line) and ask on how you can appeal for adjudication. Each state has a laid out process to sort disputes as such.

      Feel free to write back to us if you need any additional information.

  37. I applied for unemployment benefits before I knew that I should submit my PTO hours which my estranged employer will be sending me. May I edit my application to give this information? PTO=paid time off accrued.

    • If you filed online, please log in to check if you’re able to edit submitted information.Chances are that you may not be able to alter as it may have already been under process.

      You can call the customer service of the labor dept in your state for specific assistance.

  38. I am looking for assistance in job placement. I am a disabled veteran rated at 60%, I am currently working but it is in a job the is very taxing to my disability. I am looking for assistance in finding preferably a government job that will not be taxing on my ankles, knees and back.

  39. I have worked 36 or more hours a week and now are barely getting 20 hours due to the slowness of the store. Can I claim temporary unemployment until my hours go back up.

  40. I quit my job because my hours were radically reduced from 40 hours per week to 6 hours per week. Will I be eligible for unemployment?

  41. I was sent an overpayment statment due to i had a scheduled appt that i missed due to i broke my hand the same day as my appt. I went thur allthe paper work and questionairs they sent to me and determined i did have good cause for missing the appt and the overpayment was lifted and the weeks were claimable then i received the next day a stament stating i didnt have good cause for missing appt and was put back on a determination of overpayment again. So iv gone 4 weeks going thur the appeal and the redetermination was in my favor and overpayment was lifted again. At that time i had been filing my claims every week with statments stating they kept my weekily amount to pay back overpayment but once the redetermination was in affect arnt i allowed those weeks of payment since it was in my favor

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