The Washington (WA) Unemployment Program

Calendar Icon Updated February 26, 2019

Am I eligible for Washington unemployment?

Washington state administers unemployment benefits through the Washington State Employment Security Department. The Washington unemployment department, also referred to as ESD, is your go-to resource when filing unemployment insurance claims in Washington.

These benefits, which are not based on financial need, are funded via taxes paid by your previous employer and are designed to stand in for wages to help cover your cost of living while you search for another job. Washington unemployment benefits are only available to those who are out of work due to no fault of their own and those who are willing and able to work and searching for work. While you receive state of Washington unemployment benefits, you are required to take steps to get back to work as quickly as possible.

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How Unemployment Works in Washington

And How To Get Unemployment in Washington

  1. Apply for Washington unemployment as soon as you are out of work. You can only file an application online through the Washington unemployment website or over the phone. 
  2. If you meet Washington unemployment eligibility standards, you are on your way to getting compensation. You should hear back from the state unemployment agency within several days to two weeks.
  3. If you meet Washington unemployment benefits eligibility, you are entitled to receive funds. Washington unemployment compensation ranges between $169 and $713 per week.
  4. If you do not meet Washington unemployment qualifications and your claim is rejected, you have the right to an appeals hearing. This takes place over the phone, and gives you the opportunity to state your case.
  5. The Washington unemployment department mandates that you have a one-week waiting period after your claim has been accepted. This means that you will begin getting your funds two weeks after you file.
  6. After your benefits begin, you will be required to show proof of job searching, which is done online or over the phone by submitting a Washington unemployment weekly claim.

What Washington unemployment eligibility requirements must I meet? 

To receive unemployment benefits in Washington you must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Worked in the state of WA in the last 18 months
    If you did not work in Washington within the last 18 months, you should file your unemployment insurance claim in the state where you worked. One exception to this rule is individuals who were in the military or held a job with the federal government.
  • Worked enough hours in your base year
    A base year is a span of time used to determine your benefit eligibility and benefit amount. It is the first four out of the previous five calendar quarters before the week you apply for benefits. So, if you apply for benefits on January 1, 2017 ESD will look at your earnings in October 2015 through September 2016. You need to have worked at least 680 hours during your base year to be eligible for benefits.

Eligibility Team

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