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Updated : February 5th, 2019

State: Washington (WA)
Phone Number:800-318-6022 (TTY 800-365-8969) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you are hearing or speech impaired, call our TTY line at 800-365-8969. You also may use the relay service for operator assistance at 800- 833-6384 or call 711.
Major Towns:Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Everett, Spokane Val, Federal Way, Yakima, Kent, and Bellingham
Current Unemploymnet Rate in Washington

Washington Unemployment Questions

Unemployment benefits in Washington when you work part-time
If you work part-time, you can collect UI benefits, but you benefits will be reduced. You must still meet the job-search requirements while working part-time.

If you did not work more than 17 hours in any week in your base period, you may need to look for only part-time work. Working part-time usually extends the number of weeks you can draw benefits. Additional earnings also may help you qualify for a new claim when your benefit year ends.

How does severance pay affect your benefits?
Severance payments do not usually affect your unemployment benefits. However, pay in lieu of notice or continuation pay with full benefits that are guaranteed can affect your benefits. Report any separation-related payments you receive or are entitled to receive to the telecenter.

Payments are considered severance pay when:
* The payments are not assigned to any period after your date of separation from your employer.
* You are not on call or in any way required to be available to your employer in order to receive these benefits.
* Your fringe benefits do not continue to accrue (vacation, retirement, sick, etc).
* You accept a new job and it does not affect your severance pay.

Special Information for ex-servicepersons filing for unemployment insurance based on military service wages.
Federal law requires that you be physically in the state in which you file your first claim based on military wages. If you are recently separated from the military, and have not filed a new claim based on your military wages, you must be in the State of Washington now to use this online application.

How long can I get benefits?
Your claim is good for a "benefit year," which is 52 weeks, beginning with the week you file your application. You cannot file a new claim in Washington until your benefit year is over, even though you may have received all of your benefits. Most claims receive between 13 to 26 weeks of benefits.

May I have my benefits deposited directly into my bank account?
Yes. If you apply online for a new claim, you’ll be offered the option of direct deposit. If you are already claiming benefits, or if you re-open a previous claim, you can sign up online.

How do I stop claiming UI benefits? Do I need to let you know I returned to work?

You do not need to tell us you have returned to work. The way to stop your claim is simple—just stop filing your weekly claims.

You may stop claiming at any time during your benefit year and resume claiming the balance of your benefits until your benefit year ends if you meet all eligibility requirements.

However, if you stop claiming, even for one week, your claim becomes inactive and you must reopen your claim during the first week you are eligible and want to begin claiming again.

If your WorkSource office requests information about you returning to work, please respond to them.

I didn't work last week. Can I backdate my claim?
If you file your claim using the Internet, the effective date is the Sunday of the week you file. If you want to claim for any back weeks, you need to call the claims center and ask to backdate your claim.

When do I report my holiday or vacation pay?

Report the holiday pay when you claim the week in which the holiday occurred. Do not wait until you are paid for the holiday to report it.

If your vacation pay was accrued and there are no specific dates attached to it, you do not need to report it. However, if your vacation pay was for specific days, it is deductible and you need to report it. Be sure to report it for the week(s) in which the vacation days occurred.

If you are in doubt or have any questions, call the claims center for help.

Questions & Answers

  1. 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???

    1. Sheri,

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

  2. 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.)

    1. 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.

  3. 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?

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

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

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

  7. 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?

    1. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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?

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

      Please call the claims center.


  11. 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?

    1. 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.

  12. 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?

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

  13. 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.

    1. Sure please.

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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

    1. 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.

  18. 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?

    1. 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”.

  19. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  20. 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?

  21. 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.

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

      Please inquire with the labor dept in your state.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

    1. 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.

  24. 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

    1. 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.

  25. 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.

    1. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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?

  29. 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

    1. Probably not. This is not the unemployment office however. If you were scheduled to sub and it was cancelled by the school district, maybe.

  30. I have been continuously employed at the University of Washington for the past 25 years. I am considering resigning my current position and accepting a temporary position at another department in the same university with the expectation that I will be laid off upon the conclusion of the temp. job. Will I be eligible for unemployment benefits after that. My income in 2012 and 2013 are comfortably beyond the minimum eligibility limits. My question really boils down to: Will a temp. job earn me unemployment benefits.

    Thank you.

    1. My last day of work was November 30, 2013. The young child I am a night duty nurse for had to enter a Seattle hospital for specialized treatment. I returned to work December 23, 2013. I applied for unemployment benefits on December right before being notified to return to work.

      My question is: am I eligible for unemployment benefits? If not how do I stop my application?

      1. Your application is eligible for the period of no employment.If you have not received a check or electronic payment, please contact the claims center in Washington on 800-318-6022.

  31. What happens when my benefits / cash run out but I am still eligible for benefits still end of December 2013? I am looking for jobs and doing everything correct, but at my age [59] It is getting harder to succeed. Help thank you

  32. My employer has asked me to inquire about an unemployment program recently used by other employers called “work share”. What is it and how does it work. What are the steps and/or criteria for application.

    Thank you

  33. I have a boss/owner that is always yelling at the employee’s for anything and everything even if we were not told to do something he wanted done. Well the other day as he started yelling at me for the second time I lost controll and started yelling back then I grabbed his over shirt and shook him while yelling back at him and also telling him I quit because I can no longer take his abuse and that he has turned this job into a hostile work place. 3 or 4 weeks prior another driver put in his notice to quit for the same reason and another employee told me he was ready to punch the boss. Can I get benifits for leaving my job due to a hostile enviroment?

  34. I gave 2 weeks notice and the last day I worked was Dec. 3rd, 2012. I received a lump sum payout of my vacation on Dec. 21st, 2012 for 266.24 hours. My first week of unemployment I was paid for was I believe week ending Jan. 6, 2013. According to the claims kit, my vacation pay out should not have been deducted. It was not for a specific week but my vacation pay out. I faxed Steven in Spokane my pay stub on March 8, 2012 but I have not heard back. Can you help me?

  35. I have been working from 4pm-2:30am for 7 years now and 13 total years with the employer and have been diagnosed with shift sleep disorder not to mention my family(wife, 9 year and 6 year old sons) and I have been suffering from me not being home when my family is. I would like a shift change and career change. Would I be eligible to receive unemployment benefits while I change careers?
    Thank you,

  36. I am currently driving 100 miles to work, with gas prices going up this has caused quite a heartship on me. Would I be eligible for unemployment if I voluntarily quit my job for this reason?

    1. After 3 months of 2 surgeries/hospital stay/care facility stay/home health care I resigned from my job to care for my wife when the home health care company stopped their appointments to our home. I then became her health care person until she fully recovered. After she recovers I will have to find another job as we have exhausted our resources on bills. When I am ready to go back to work do I qualify for unemployment benefits while looking for work?

  37. With sequestration looming our company, (CH2MHILL or CHPRC as it is known on the Hanford site),is talking about possible “Furloughs”. My question is: If the employee is out of work through no fault of his own or,Furlough,would the employee be eligible for unemployment benefits?

  38. How can someone who worked in Arizona and quit to accept another job and only worked 3 weeks file unemployment in Washington State?

  39. Although I am currently employed I have a question regarding someone who is on unemployment who will start a job on Monday. They won’t receive there first pay check for at least 3 weeks, do they still call in to receive benefits until they receive a pay check?
    Thank you

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