Sunday, April 14, 2024

Claiming Unemployment In Washington State

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Am I Eligible For Unemployment Benefits

Rampant fraud for Washington state unemployment claims

To qualify for unemployment benefits in the state of Washington, a claimant must satisfy several requirements. First, the applicant must have worked in Washington state for at least a portion of the base year used to calculate benefits. In Washington, you must have accrued a total of at least 680 working hours in your base year to be eligible for unemployment benefits. Unless you recently left the military and are currently located in Washington state, at least some of those hours must have occurred in Washington state.

You must also be out of work through no fault of your own, meaning you cannot have quit your job without good cause. In addition, you must be willing, able, and available to accept suitable work when it is offered.

To be eligible for Washington unemployment insurance benefits, you must be a resident of Washington and all of the following must be true:

  • You are unemployed through no fault of your own
  • You worked in Washington during the past 12 months
  • You earned a minimum amount of wages determined by Washington guidelines
  • You are actively seeking work each week you are collecting benefits

Continuing Eligibility For Unemployment

The initial employment claim is just the beginning of the eligibility process. If you receive benefits, you’ll need to file a new claim every Sunday using your eServices account or by phone at 800-318-6022. Each claim requires you to answer a set of questions about your job-search activities, income and availability for work.

In addition to a weekly claim, Washington requires you to search for work. This includes:

  • Keeping a weekly job-search log
  • Completing at least three employer contacts or job-search activities per week
  • Registering with your local WorkSource office or American Job Center

Approved employer contacts include inquiring about a job or applying for a position. Job-search activities are typically run through WorkSource and American Job Center offices they include training sessions, skill-building workshops and other relevant classes.

Washington State requires you to keep a written log of each contact or activity that includes:

  • Type of contact or activity

The ESD can audit your log at any time up to 30 days after you stop receiving unemployment benefits or the end of the benefit year. If they find that you aren’t following the rules, they may deny benefits or audit the benefits you’ve received in the past.

What Happens If My Unemployment Benefits Are Denied

If you are denied unemployment benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. Instructions on how to begin this process will be included in your notice of determination of unemployed status. The quickest and most convenient way to appeal a decision is to do so online through your eServices account.

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How Do I Apply

To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online.

  • You should contact your state’s unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after becoming unemployed.
  • Generally, you should file your claim with the state where you worked. If you worked in a state other than the one where you now live or if you worked in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency where you now live can provide information about how to file your claim with other states.
  • When you file a claim, you will be asked for certain information, such as addresses and dates of your former employment. To make sure your claim is not delayed, be sure to give complete and correct information.
  • It generally takes two to three weeks after you file your claim to receive your first benefit check.

What To Do If You Are A Victim Of Fraud

Washington State Unemployment Claims: Health Related Occupations to 10 ...
  • Go to and complete a Fraud Reporting Form
  • Contact Human Resources by either emailing the HR Helpdesk or contacting Michelle Davis
  • File a police report – You can file an online or non-emergency report with the law enforcement agency whose jurisdiction you live in
  • File an Identity Theft report with the Federal Trade Commission via their online form at
  • Obtain your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion at or call 1-877-322-8228. Report to the credit bureaus that the fraudulent claim was made using your identity and provide them with the case number from your police report. You can have a fraud alert put on your identity or freeze your credit. Doing either is free by law. A fraud alert is free and will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name.Equifax: 1-888-766-0008Experian: 1-888-397-3742TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

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What To Do If Youve Worked In Or Are Moving To Another State

Where should you file your claim?

If you have already moved or are moving out of Washington and are currently filing weekly benefit claims, you must:

  • Live in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands or Canada to claim benefits.
  • Change your address with us after you move. You can do this online, or call 800-318-6022 and use the automated system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week .
  • Continue to file your weekly claims as you do now. Although you’re living in a different state, Washington will continue to pay you benefits.
  • Register for work-search assistance in your local area. Go online to find your local American Jobs Center.

If you have specific questions, call Washington’s claims center or persons with hearing or speaking impairments can call Washington Relay Service 711).

How To Apply Over The Phone In Washington State

As previously stated, you can also file for unemployment in Washington over the phone. You will need to call the state Automated Claims Line to complete an unemployment claim, and if you do not have the necessary information on hand, the claims specialist may ask you to call back later. When calling, please tell the WA unemployment registration specialist if you are under the protection of a court order before you begin to answer questions. You can elect to have the application translated into the following foreign languages.

If you elect to call the Washington Unemployment Claims Center instead of the Automated Claims Line, a claims specialist, instead of a computer, will ask you questions. This is the best option if you prefer to interact with a human, but it usually takes longer than the other application methods. You will need to file for unemployment in WA by phone if you:

You can also complete a WA unemployment EDD application using a tablet or smartphone if you do not have access to a personal computer.

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How Can I Estimate My Weekly Benefit Amount

You can estimate your own weekly benefit amount to see how much you are potentially eligible to receive. To do this, you need to know which calendar quarters will make up your base year.

Your base year is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the week in which you apply for benefits. For example, if you applied for unemployment benefits on Jan. 20, 2021, your base year would include wages earned from Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020.

You could be eligible for an alternate base year claim if you do not have enough hours in that base year for a valid claim .

When you file your claim here:

Your base year is the blue-shaded area.

To estimate how much you might be eligible to receive, add together the gross wages in the two highest quarters during that period, divide by 2, and then multiply by 0.0385 to get your weekly benefit amount.

The total amount of benefits potentially payable on your claim is found by taking the smaller of:

  • 26 times your weekly benefit amount or
  • 1/3 of the total gross wages in all four quarters of your base year.

Benefits Available For Self

Washington sees spike in unemployment claims

Unemployment benefits are now available for Washingtonians who have lost work because of the COVID-19 crisisincluding freelancers, independent contractors and other self-employed workers. The federal CARES Act makes this possible.

If youre a self-employed worker whos lost income in this crisis, you may now qualify for unemployment benefits. The amount of financial help varies. But if your application is approved, you will be paid at least the minimum weekly benefit amount.

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What Is The Procedure For Filing For Unemployment Benefits

To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must be out of work due to circumstances beyond your control.

Unemployment benefits can be applied online through ESDs eServices page, which can be found here.

Remember that you should only apply for unemployment benefits at this time if you were already eligible before the CARES Act was passed in December of 2009.

If you werent eligible until that time , the ESD system is not currently configured to accept your application.

Youll need to sign up for the ESDs COVID-19 email updates in order to be notified when the system is updated and you can submit an application. The completion of this update is expected around the middle of April.

Beginning on the date that the unemployment program was established and you became eligible for unemployment benefits, your weekly benefits will be paid out in installments.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which broadened the scope of who is eligible for unemployment benefits, began operations on March 29, 2020. This means that if you have to wait until the middle of April to apply, you will not lose any weekly benefits.

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How Long Does It Take To Get Unemployment In Washington

The process to receive your first unemployment payment in Washington takes about from the date that you filed your initial claim.

After you file your initial claim, you will need to continue filling regular weekly claim each week that you would like to receive benefits. Keep in mind that there me be a mandatory 1-week waiting period that you will not receive benefits for.

The waiting week is the first week you file a weekly claim and meet all eligibility requirements. Before you can start receiving benefits, Washington law requires one waiting week per claim. You will not be paid any money for the week, but claiming the week is required to receive credit for it as a waiting week.

You may be able to find the status of your unemployment on Washingtons unemployment page.

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What Happens If Unemployment Claims In Washington Are Denied

If you’re denied unemployment, you can appeal it within 30 days through your eServices account. If you prefer a mail or fax appeal, follow the instructions on your denial letter. Continue to file weekly claims during the appeals process.

If the ESD changes its decision, you’ll get a notice by mail. Otherwise, they’ll send the appeal to the Washington Office of Administrative Hearings . An official will schedule a phone hearing or a Brief Adjudicative Proceeding, and the judge will make a decision. After that, you’ll have one final opportunity to appeal you can find instructions on the OAH order.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In Washington

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If you face unemployment, you may have an easier time qualifying for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Washington. That said, you often have to qualify for bankruptcy using the Washington bankruptcy means test and income limits. For example, below are the income limits for bankruptcy cases filed on or after May 15, 2022 for Washington.

# of People
* Add $4,720 for each individual in excess of 9.

That said, the Chapter 7 attorney costs in Washington may range from $1000 – $2000 and the Chapter 13 attorney costs in Washington may be approximately $3,500.

Specific cities may have different attorney fee ranges. For example, the estimated attorney fee is $1,500 in Seattle and $1,500 in Spokane

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Supplemental Unemployment Insurance Benefits During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan established the following supplemental unemployment insurance programs during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program aimed to provide qualifying unemployment insurance claimants with a supplemental $300-$600 per week in addition to their state unemployment insurance benefits. The program expired on September 6, 2021.

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation sought to provide 24 weeks of extended unemployment insurance benefits to recipients who have exhausted their standard benefits. The program expired on September 6, 2021.

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program aimed to provide individuals who are out of work but ineligible for standard unemployment insurance benefits with $300-$600 in weekly compensation. Qualifying individuals included workers who are not eligible for standard benefits, such as independent contractors and self-employed workers, as well as individuals who have exhausted their standard benefits, extended benefits, or PEUC benefits. The program expired on September 6, 2021.

  • Lost Wages Assistance
  • Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation

Washington State Ranked 34th In The Nation For Drop In Unemployment Claims

Washington state ranks in the bottom half of the country in terms of decreasing unemployment claims, coming in at No. 34 in an analysis from Wallet Hub released on Thursday.

To determine its rankings, the personal finance website compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on changes in unemployment claims for several key benchmark weeks, with a focus on the number of claims per 100,000 people in the labor force.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez spoke about the factors influencing the Evergreen States ranking.

Washington is among the bottom 20 states where unemployment claims have decreased the least, she said in an email to The Center Square. In fact, there were over 16% more unemployment insurance initial claims last week than the week before. Overall, the number of unemployment claims per capita in Washington is currently the 15th largest in the country.

According to the state Employment Security Department, Washington added 1,500 jobs in September, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.7%.

This increase comes as a direct consequence of all the Fed rate hikes that have occurred in the past months, Gonzalez noted.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve approved a fourth-straight rate hike of three-quarters of a percentage point as part of its plan to bring down persistently high inflation bedeviling the U.S. economy.

The 10 states where unemployment claims decreased the most since last week:

1. Kentucky

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What Else Do I Need To Know

LeVine also addressed issues that applicants may face when applying for unemployment under the new CARES Act rules.

The website says Im ineligible after I filled out the form, but the checklist says Im eligible.

LeVine says that people should ignore that message, and click on the link to apply for the unemployment assistance. LeVine said this glitch was a trade-off in order to prioritize getting systems in place to get people their money faster.

Thats not the optimal experience and I recognize that, LeVine said.

She said ESD staff would be working through the weekend on upgrading the states systems.

I was self-employed or an independent contractor, so how will my weekly benefit be determined?

Independent contractors and self-employed workers will need to upload their wage data to the Employment Security Department, and ESD staff will review it to verify it and determine how much the applicant is eligible for per week. But the state in the meantime will provide the minimum weekly benefit.

If the person is eligible for more than the minimum, ESD will pay the difference retroactively when wages have been verified.

What is the minimum benefit? When will I get it?

The minimum benefit will be $235 from the state unemployment assistance program, plus $600 from the CARES act. That will come to $835 a week.

If I was denied benefits in the past few weeks, should I try again?


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What Is The Appealing Process In Washington

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If your claim is denied, or your weekly amount is reduced you will be mailed an Administrative Decision within a certain number of business days of it happening.

You may receive a form along with the decision which you should fill out and return if you choose to appeal the decision. It is important to note, that if you choose to appeal the decision you should continue to file your weekly claims for benefits.

That way, if the appeal is reached in your favor, you can be paid out for all the weeks you were eligible for. Administrative decisions become final within 20 days from the date they were mailed. It is pertinent that you respond quickly to ensure your greatest chance of success.

You can learn more about the Washington appeals process here.

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How Much Do You Get From Washington Unemployment

In Washington, the most you can receive each week in unemployment is $929 per week. The actual amount depends on your earnings during the base year.

Washington doesn’t have a set number of weeks for unemployment. Instead, it allows you to claim unemployment benefits until you hit the lesser of:

  • 26 times the weekly benefit
  • One-third of your gross income during the base year

To get an idea of your maximum employment benefit, add the earnings from your two highest-income quarters. Then, multiply that amount by 0.0385. If the amount is between $295 and $929, it will be your weekly benefit amount. If it’s higher than $929, your weekly benefit will be $929.

If the number is lower than $295, the state will multiply it by 4 and divide the result by 52. Compare that number to $295 your weekly benefit will be whichever is lower.

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