Washington Unemployment Guide

If you've recently lost your job in Washington, you may be eligible for Washington Unemployment Insurance benefits. This is a guide to filing your claim for Washington unemployment benefits. Since each situation may have its own unique circumstances, make sure you check with the contact numbers and websites listed below to make sure you get the maximum benefits you can claim.

Filing for Unemployment:

Unemployed Washington workers can file an initial claim for unemployment benefits one of two ways:

  1. Online – File your initial unemployment claim online
  2. Telephone – File your unemployment claim at 800-318-6022

File your claim right away after you've stopped working – don't delay. Your claim starts the week you file. Unemployment benefits are not retroactive, so if you delay you may lose benefits.

  • Name, address & phone
  • SSN & date of birth
  • Name, address, phone number, gross earnings, occupation, dates worked, and reason for separation for all employers for the past 18 months
  • If you were discharged from the military in the last 18 months, you'll need Copy #4 of your DD Form 214
  • If you were a Federal employee in the last 18 months, you'll need SF 8 or SF 50 (or W2 or pay stubs)
  • If you are not a US Citizen, you'll need your Alien Registration Number, expiration, and type
  • Union Hall name and number, if applicable

After filing your initial unemployment claim, you will receive a Statement of Wages and Hours, describing benefits, eligibility and giving additional information.

Filing Your Weekly Claim:

Washington weekly unemployment benefits are based on approximately 50% of your the average weekly earnings, with a minimum of $133 and a maximum of $560 per week. Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) currently adds an additional $25 per week to your benefit.

  1. Online – File your weekly unemployment claim online
  2. Telephone – File your weekly unemployment claim by calling 800-318-6022, Sunday 12:01am to Friday 5:00pm

Beware of the Waiting Week. Your first week of benefits is called a "waiting week" – this means you will not be paid benefits during your first week of eligibility, but you must still file a claim to get credit for waiting.

You should expect your first unemployment check within 3 weeks. Weekly benefits are paid by check or direct deposit to your account. You should expect your check withing a week from your filing date (checks are generally sent the next business day after filing). You should expect your benefit to be available in by direct deposit within 3 business days from filing date (transfer is sent the next business day after filing).

-- Find jobs in Washington

Unemployment Benefits:

Health care benefits may also be available through the Health Coverage Tax Credit - Check COBRA and The IRS for details.

Washington workers may be eligible for online career and training assistance. You may also find career and training assistance at a local Washington WorkSource office.

Filing for extensions:

If an extended benefit period is declared, based on unemployment rates, and it appears that you qualify, you will be notified with instructions to extend your unemployment benefits.

Ending Unemployment:

When you return to work, file for credit for the remaining few days you didn't work, and report wages earned for the week. Then, just stop filing - when you stop weekly filing, your unemployment benefits automatically end.


Make sure to keep a copy of your work search record. You may be required to supply copies to the Washington Employment Security Division.

-- Find jobs in Washington

Read Full Story