Washington Unemployment Application
In order to receive unemployment insurance benefits in Washington, you will need to submit an application. You can do this by submitting an online application at secure.esd.wa.gov or by calling the state’s UI claims center.
Applying for Washington unemployment benefits online
You have the option to apply for benefits online at any time, day or night, using your eServices account. However, please note that you will need to use a laptop or desktop computer to submit an initial application—not a mobile device.
If you don’t have access to a computer, you can visit your local library or WorkSource Washington Center to use one.
The Washington eServices portal allows you to manage all aspects of your unemployment claim, including:
- Applying for unemployment benefits: Start the process of requesting financial assistance if you have lost your job and meet the eligibility criteria.
- Submitting a weekly claim: Continuously update your information and confirm your eligibility by submitting a weekly claim to ensure the continuation of your benefits.
- Managing your unemployment benefits claim: Take charge of your claim by monitoring its status, reviewing important updates, and making any necessary adjustments.
- Restarting a current claim: If your previous claim was closed and you still require benefits, you can initiate the process to restart your claim.
- Paying a benefit overpayment: If you mistakenly received more benefits than you were entitled to, you may need to repay the excess amount. Information on how to make this payment will be provided.
- Looking up past wages: Access records of your previous earnings to understand how they may affect the calculation of your unemployment benefits.
- Scheduling a required WorkSource Washington appointment: Coordinate and arrange a mandatory meeting or appointment with a WorkSource Washington representative as part of the unemployment benefits program.
Applying for Washington unemployment benefits by phone
If you need help applying, you can also apply for UI benefits by calling the UI claims center and speaking to a claims agent. Representatives are available to assist you from Monday to Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
To reduce waiting times on the phone, it’s important to call on the day associated with the last digits of your Social Security number:
- Monday—New applications from individuals whose Social Security numbers end in 0-3
- Tuesday—New applications from individuals whose Social Security numbers end in 0-6
- Wednesday, Thursday, Friday—Anyone can submit a new application for benefits
Please note that Mondays and Tuesdays tend to have the highest call volumes, so you might consider waiting until Wednesday when the phone lines are less busy.
Information needed to file for benefits
Whether you apply for unemployment benefits online or by phone, you will need to provide the Washington Employment Security Department with the following information:
- Social Security number
- Personal details, such as your name, birthdate, and contact information (mailing address, phone number, and email address)
- Highest level of education
- Names and addresses of all employers in the past 18 months, including part-time and temporary jobs. If you had more than 16 employers during this period, you must file your claim by phone.
- Dates you worked for each employer in the past 18 months. If you don’t remember the exact dates, you will need to provide your best estimate.
- If you are affiliated with a union, please provide the name and local number of the union.
- If you served in the military during the last 18 months, you’ll need your DD-214 document.
- If you were a federal employee in the past 18 months, please provide your Standard Form 8 (SF8), titled “Notice To Federal Employees About Unemployment Insurance.” While not required, providing the Standard Form 50 (SF50), titled “Notice of Personnel Action,” will expedite the processing of your claim.
- Citizenship status. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need to provide your work authorization information.
- If you wish to sign up for direct deposit, you will be asked for your bank or credit union account and routing numbers.
How to create a SecureAccess Washington account
To apply for Washington UI benefits online, you will need to create a SecureAccess Washington account to use the eServices portal. To do so, visit secure.esd.wa.gov and click the “Create new account” button.
Follow the prompts on the screen by entering your personal information and desired username and password. From there, you’ll be asked to review the information, enter a security code, and verify your account using an email link.
Verifying your identity for unemployment benefits
The Washington State Employment Security Department uses ID.me to verify your identity safely and securely. The process ensures that only you can access unemployment benefits under your name and Social Security number.
In just a few simple steps, you will create an ID.me account and verify your identity by uploading a copy of your government ID and answering questions about your credit history.
Should you have any problems navigating the ID.me automatic system, you can request that a representative verify your identity via video call.
What to do after submitting an initial application for Washington unemployment benefits
After you have submitted your initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits in Washington, it is important to file a weekly claim to continue receiving benefits. Additionally, within one week of filing your initial application, you must register for work with your local WorkSource Washington office.
Claimants also must meet the state job search requirements while receiving unemployment benefits. This means you must either make three employer contacts or engage in three qualified in-person job search activities at your local WorkSource Washington office. You also have the option to combine both approaches, as long as the total number is three. You will want to document these efforts in a job search log in case the state asks for it.
How to register for work
You will be automatically registered for work through your local WorkSource Washington office after you apply.
If you move to a new state, you will need to register for work with your local American Job Center location. In many cases, you may be able to complete the registration process online. Contact your local office to get information on how to complete the registration.
If you fail to register for work, your benefits will be denied for each week that you are not registered.
Why would a UI application be denied?
There are several reasons why your application for Washington State UI benefits might be denied. A few common reasons include:
- Insufficient hours—To qualify for Washington UI benefits, you need to have worked a certain amount of hours during your base period. If you haven’t worked enough, your application may be denied.
- Ineligibility due to separation from work: If you were terminated from your job due to misconduct, violation of company policies, or voluntarily quit without good cause, your application may be denied. Eligibility for UI benefits typically requires being separated from work through no fault of your own, such as a layoff or reduction in workforce.
- Inaccurate or incomplete information: Providing incorrect or incomplete information on your application, such as inaccurate employment history or personal details, can lead to a denial, and even charges of WA unemployment fraud. It is important to ensure that all the information you provide is accurate and complete.
- Not actively seeking work: To be eligible for UI benefits, you are required to actively search for suitable employment and provide evidence of your job search efforts. If you fail to actively seek work or do not meet the required job search requirements, your application may be denied.
- Not meeting availability and work search requirements: You must be available and physically able to work to receive UI benefits. If you are unable to work or have specific restrictions that prevent you from seeking or accepting suitable employment, your application may be denied.
- Disqualification due to certain circumstances: Certain circumstances, such as receiving severance pay, being self-employed without meeting specific criteria, or refusing suitable job offers, may result in disqualification from receiving UI benefits.
What happens if my unemployment application is denied?
If your application for unemployment benefits in Washington is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. To do so, you can present your case in a hearing before a judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings, the department responsible for reviewing and deciding appeals regarding unemployment benefits.
When will I start receiving UI benefits?
The first week you claim unemployment benefits is known as the waiting week. You will not be paid for this week, but will still need to meet the eligibility requirements in order to receive credit for this week.
Once you meet the eligibility criteria for your second week, you will be issued your first benefit payment. You should receive it within seven business days of filing your weekly claim.
You can calculate your weekly benefit amount by visiting our Washington Unemployment Calculator.