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Unemployment Benefits

This is only a guide, for further information and forms please visit the Employment Security Department of Washington State.

Unemployment Insurance Information


Unemployment insurance is designed to assist workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. It is 100 percent funded by employers through payroll taxes. Benefits are not based on your financial need. Although weekly benefits do not completely replace your regular earnings, they can help you meet expenses until you find a new job. You are encouraged to apply during the first week you become unemployed.

You must have 680 hours of covered employment in your base year (the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before you applied for unemployment benefits). You must be physically able to work, available for work, and actively seeking suitable work (employment in an occupation in line with your prior training, experience, and education - unless your regular work does not exist in the labor market).


What are Unemployment Insurance benefits?

Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits partially replace your regular earnings and help you meet expenses while you look for another job. They are not based on financial need.

While receiving unemployment benefits, your first responsibility is to get back to work as quickly as you can.

Am I eligible for benefits?

Unemployment insurance is designed to assist workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. It is 100 percent funded by employers through payroll taxes. Benefits are not based on financial need. Although weekly benefits do not completely replace your regular earnings, they can help you meet expenses until you find a new job. You are encouraged to apply during the first week you become unemployed.

Requirements:

You must have 680 hours of covered employment in your base year to meet the initial requirements to qualify for a claim. You must also have wages in Washington in order to file your unemployment claim against the state of Washington.

You need to give the reason you became unemployed.

  • You are probably eligible if your employer laid you off for lack of work.
  • We have to make a decision about your eligibility if you voluntarily quit your job, were fired or suspended by your employer, or are on a leave of absence.
  • We will get information about your separation from both you and your employer. Both you and your employer have an opportunity to respond to each other's version of the separation. We will then issue a written decision based on the information we gathered.
  • You must be physically able to work, available for work, and actively seeking suitable work.

What will be asked when I apply?

You will need to provide certain information whether you apply for unemployment benefits online or by phone. You will need:

  • Your social security number. Federal law requires you provide this to receive benefits.
  • The name and address of your very last employer, regardless of how long you worked there or what type of work you did.
  • The date you last worked for your very last employer. Our system will not accept a future date. If you are still working, you can use the date you apply.
  • The names and address of all your other employers during the last two years.
  • You must list all of your employers for the last two years. On the online application, there is room to list up to 16 employers. If you worked for more than 16 employers in the last 2 years, you must file your claim by calling the TeleCenter.
  • The dates you worked for all employers. Use your best estimate if you do not remember the exact dates. You must report this information to us because your employer does not. They only report your wages and hours to us.
  • If you normally get your work through a union, the name and local number of your union.
  • If you were in the military during the last two years, your DD214, any member copy, 2 through 8.
  • If you were a federal employee in the last two years, your Standard Form 8 (SF8) -- Notice to Federal Employees About Unemployment Insurance, and Standard Form 50 (SF50)--Notice of Personnel Action.
  • If not an U.S. citizen, your alien registration number issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Do not wait to apply, even if you do not have all the information. Your claim is effective Sunday of the week you first apply. You will be asked several questions when you apply. The process is different depending on whether you apply online or by phone. You can review the sample application or phone questions to prepare and gather information to help you complete the process.

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.

Can I still claim weekly benefits if I am moving out of Washington state?

Yes. If you are currently filing weekly claims in Washington, file a change of address after you move. You can do this:

  • Online; or
  • By calling 800-318-6022

Continue to file your weekly claims as you do now. Although you are living in a different state, Washington will continue to pay you benefits. You must register for work in your local area. Go online to find your local employment center.

Do I have to accept any job that is offered?

You do not have to look for or accept work that is not suitable. Work is not suitable if:

  • The work is not in line with your training and experience. (After a period of time, any job you are qualified to do may become suitable work.)
  • You must join or resign from a labor union.
  • The hours or working conditions are not favorable as most other jobs in your occupation in your area.
  • The wages offered are lower than the wages common for that occupation in your area.
  • The work is unreasonably dangerous.
  • You cannot physically do the work.
  • The work would offend your religious beliefs or moral conscience.

Can I collect unemployment benefits if I work part-time?

If you work part-time, your benefits are reduced using the earnings deduction chart (gross earnings minus 5 times 75 percent). You must still meet the job-search requirements while working part-time. 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.

Who pays for unemployment insurance?

Washington State employers pay all the costs of the UI program through payroll taxes. Workers do not pay any of the costs. For more information about the effect benefit payments have on employers, go to www.tax.go2ui.com.

How much will I receive?

In Washington state, the maximum weekly benefit amount is $541. The minimum is $129. No one who is eligible for benefits will receive less than this, regardless of his or her earnings.

You can calculate your own weekly and maximum amount of benefits to see how much you are potentially eligible to receive. You need to know which calendar quarters will make up your base year in order to estimate the amount. Your base year is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the week in which you file your claim.

To calculate 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.

http://www.esd.wa.gov/uibenefits/benefitcheck/how-much.php

Where can I apply?

If you have a computer, you can apply online. If not, you can use WWU's Human Resources computer lab, or computers at your local library or WorkSource located at 101 Prospect Street ph: 360-676-1521. If you do not have a computer, you can also apply for unemployment over the phone. Call 1-800-318-6022 (TTY 1-800-365-8969).

When should I call?

They are available to help you Monday through Friday from 8:00am - 5:00 pm, except on state holidays. They may be open extended hours during peak periods.

If your Social Security number ends with:

  • 0 - 3, call Monday
  • 4 - 7, call Tuesday
  • 8 - 9, call Wednesday

Please call on your designated day. If you miss your day, you may call on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday of the same week without any delay in payment.

How do I know if my online application was received?

You will get a confirmation page after you hit the "Submit" button on the last page of the application. This page means that your application was accepted. It provides important information you are responsible for reading and understanding. If you have any questions about the information, call the TeleCenter at 1-800-318-6022, option #7 to speak with a claims specialist. You will also receive verification by e-mail that your application was received, if you have your e-mail address and permission to correspond with you. Watch your mail. You will receive a packet of information, including a statement of the wages and hours used to set up your claim. The confirmation page contains information on how and when to file your weekly claims and when you will begin receiving benefits. You should print a copy of the confirmation page for your records. Be sure to print the page before you click on the "I Accept" button at the bottom of the page.

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Page Updated 06.03.2013