Know Your Rights – Washington Unemployment

  Last Verified: January 2017  

Just after the New Year in 2017, the Washington Employment Security Department deployed a new software system and website, which crashed under the weight of claimants attempting to file for benefits. The Seattle Times reported that the $28 million system, meant to help claimants help themselves, caused delays for weekly claims. The crash forced claimants to use the telephone filing system, which was quickly overwhelmed.

The state claims that they’ve resolved the problems. However, it is unknown whether new bugs won’t reappear, causing more delays for those who depend on the system. New claimants or those reopening claims should be aware of what it takes to be eligible and file for unemployment benefits to avoid greater delays.



In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Washington, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have at least 680 hours of employment in your base year
  • You must be able and available to work
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • You must live in Washington and have worked in the state

The state requires to maintain your eligibility status if you receive benefits. This entails engaging in active job searches each week, among other requirements.

Eligibility Requirements Explained

Unemployed Through No Fault of Your Own

You cannot have caused your separation from work to be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. If you quit without a good cause connected to work, your decision to leave caused the separation. If you were fired for misconduct connected to work, your actions caused the separation.

Lay offs and plant closings are two examples of losing a job through no fault of your own.

Able and Available

You must be physically and mentally able to work when you file your claim. You also have to be available to accept suitable employment. If your initial claim is successful, you may not refuse an offer of suitable employment. Your self-employment work or class schedule will not be a sufficient reason to refuse work.

Hours Worked in the Base Year

A “base year” is a 12-month period the state uses to determine whether you’re eligible for benefits and if so, how much you’re eligible to receive. The base year is divided into 3-month periods called quarters, and the state observes your wages and hours over the first four of the last five quarters prior to your filing the initial claim.
base period

If you don’t have enough hours in your base year using the standard base period determination, the state will use an alternate base period. This will be the 12 months prior to your filing your initial claim.

Maximum Benefit Amount in Washington

The amount of unemployment benefits you will receive each week is called your weekly benefit amount (WBA). To find out your WBA, the state will take the average of your two highest paying quarters in your base period, and then take 3.85% of the average.

Washington has a maximum and minimum WBA. The maximum is $681. The minimum is $162. No one who is eligible for benefits will receive less than the minimum, regardless of base period wages.

You can collect a limited amount during your benefit year (the 52-week period after you file your initial claim). That amount is the lesser of:

  • 26 times your WBA or
  • 1/3 of your total base year wages.

The Employment Security Department offers a WBA estimating widget on their website.

How to apply

You can apply for unemployment benefits in Washington by phone or online. If you would like to apply over the phone, you can call the claims center at 800-318-6022 (TTY 800-365-8969) Monday-Friday from 8am to 5pm.

To file your claim online, visit You will create a user account at the webpage or answer a few questions at the claims center.

Before you file your claim, you should have the following information available:

  • Your social security number
  • Your contact information (it may help to have your driver’s license handy)
  • Information of all of your previous employers for the past 2 years (names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates employed at each employer). If you had more than 16 employers in the past 2 years, you must call the claims center to apply.
  • Your approximate gross monthly pay from each employer
  • The name and local number of your labor union (if applicable)
  • Your SF-8 and SF-50 form if you were a federal employee for the past 2 years
  • Your DD-214 form if you were in a branch of the military for the past 2 years
  • Your alien registration number if you are not a U.S citizen

In order to file for an extension, you must apply over the phone by calling the EUC/EB Unit at 1-877-588-8509.

Maintaining Eligibility and Weekly Certifications

Once you successfully file an initial claim for benefits, you will continue to be eligible through the benefit year if you maintain your initial status and look for work. The requires you to file a claim for benefits each week, sometimes called weekly certifications or filing a weekly claim for benefits.

You file your weekly claim in the same way as you filed your initial claim. You may file online or by telephone, using the same portal or telephone number. In special cases, you may file a paper form by mail or fax. You’ll want to file online or by phone, however.

When you file the weekly claim, the system will collect information from you to help them determine whether you are eligible for benefits that week. These questions intend to discover:

  • Whether you are able and available to work
  • Whether you have started a new job or quit one
  • Whether you have earned any wages or received income
  • Whether you have refused suitable employment
  • Whether you are actively looking for work

The ESD’s system may ask other questions regarding your status, but all related to eligibility issues.

If you miss a week or make a mistake when certifying, call the claims center for assistance ASAP.

Work Search Requirements

The ESD requires that all benefit recipients make regular job searches as a condition of remaining eligible each week.

The first step is to register with a WorkSource employment center. You can register online or find a location near you. Once registered, you can upload a resume and perform job searches. However, simply searching the database a few times each week will not satisfy the job search requirements to stay eligible. You must:

  • Make employer contacts, or;
  • Participate in training sessions at a local WorkSource location.

An employer contact means contacting someone with hiring authority at some business and either inquiring personally about work or applying for a job. The business you contact has to be looking for employees for this activity to satisfy the state.

The activities at the job centers revolve around improving your ability to find suitable employment. You will learn to improve your resume and interview skills.

You must perform three of these activities per week to remain eligible. Keep a log of all your job search activities. An ESD representative may ask to see proof of your work search activity at any time.

Your logs should contain information the ESD can verify. Any kind of current contact information for employers should work. The representative will also want to know what jobs you applied for and when.

The ESD will exempt some workers from the job search requirement. If you have a definite date when you will return to work, you may be exempt. Membership in a union hall with a placement program may exempt you from the requirement. If you participate in a Commissioner-approved training program, the state may exempt you. The ESD will inform you if you are exempt.

Part-time Employment and Maintaining Eligibility

You can work part-time and still receive unemployment benefits. However, the state will deduct earnings from your WBA. The state observes your gross earnings, subtracts $5, then takes 75% of the difference. Remember, you still keep the money you earned for that week. Only your benefit amount is reduced. If you earn $100 in wages, the state will deduct about $72 from your WBA.

The ESD publishes an unemployment benefit handbook and that handbook includes a chart to help you find the right deduction in the week you have wages.

You must report the wages (and/or income) you earn. Report when you file a weekly claim and report the wages in the week you earned them, not when you were paid.

Some wages are not deductible, like severance pay or Social Security payments. Typically, most earned income is deductible. If you accept goods for work performed, you will have to estimate the value of those goods and deduct them from the WBA.

You must report any wages or income earned. The state could consider the withholding of such information to be fraud.

Reasons for Denial of Benefits

You must have been employed during the base period in a business covered by unemployment laws (“covered employment.”) Self-employment is not covered. If you earn income through commissions, the employment is not covered. Some small businesses may not be covered. Your employer will be able to give you this information.

If you fail to make enough wages in your base period, the state will not approve your claim for unemployment benefits. The wage issue is a “threshold” question. You will not receive further consideration after this determination.

The state will notify you in the Statement of Wages and Hours regarding your wages. This statement will also tell you your WBA.

Even though you make sufficient wages to qualify, the state may deny your claim because of how you were separated from work. If your actions or decisions were the main factor in you leaving work, the state may deny your claim.

If you quit without a good cause connected to your work, the state may deny benefits. You may consider going back to school full-time a good cause, but it was a decision to benefit you personally. It is not connected to work.

If the state denies benefits because you quit, you can work for at least seven weeks to earn seven times your WBA. Then you may reopen your claim.

If your employer fired you for multiple violations of policy after several warnings from your employer, the claims examiner may consider that your actions amounted to “misconduct connected to your work.” Your action caused the separation.

If the state finds misconduct, you can work for ten weeks or until you earn 10 times your WBA. Then you may reopen the claim. If the state finds gross misconduct, you may lose eligibility no matter your wages in the base period.

Quit and Still Eligible

The ESD looks at quit issues on a case-by-case basis. The claims examiner will look at the reason you quit the job before denying benefits. There are a few situations the examiner will consider the quit to be for a good cause:

  • Your employer reduced your salary by at least 25% or more
  • You found a new, or better, job
  • You had to leave because of a domestic violence issue
  • You worked under unsafe conditions or suffered undue harassment

You had to show that you tried to remedy the situation before quitting the job. In many cases, this means discussing the matter with your supervisor or with HR.

Fired and Still Eligible

If the ESD denies the claim for benefits because you were discharged for cause, you may still be eligible for benefits. You may have been discharged for a one-time incident. The state may not consider this to be misconduct. However, severe violations of policy, like violence against another employee, may be considered misconduct even though it happened only once.

Your former employer will receive notice when you file a claim. The state will ask them about the circumstances of your separation from work, and they may offer information to counter your side of the story, resulting in a denial. You may have to exercise your right to appeal.

What Happens When Benefits Are Denied: The Appeals Process

You have the right to appeal any adverse decision the state makes against you. If you disagree with a decision, you have 30 days in which to file an appeal of that decision to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). If your appeal is late, you will have to show the state a good cause to accept your appeal. If you cannot, the state will dismiss the case.

The OAH is not a part of the ESD. The ESD will forward your appeal to the OAH.

When you receive your letter of determination, it will include instructions on how to appeal the decision. It is important to note that you will be required to submit detailed information as to why you are appealing and you may be asked to complete a phone interview.

If you are denied benefits, please visit our section on appealing benefits decision in Washington.


Read the unemployment handbook for more information on all aspects of filing a claim

Unemployment forms

Find employment with Work Source

Emergency unemployment compensation phone number


Visit the “One-Stop Shop” for assistance or contact the ESD online

Fax: 360-902-9270

Mail repayments to: Benefit Payment Control, Employment Security Department,
P.O. Box 24928, Seattle, WA 98124



  • Be

    I recently was laid off from my position, I am getting unemployment through WA state. Can I move to Oregon and still receive benefits? If so can I apply for Oregon jobs and claim them on my weekly claims for WA unemployment ?

    • Yes, you can live anywhere in the US and collect from Oregon. Residency in Oregon is not a requirement. Yes, you can apply for jobs in Oregon. Keep a log/record, similar to what you are now doing in WA.

      • Be

        Can I collect from WA state since I am already collecting unemployment from that state? Or do I have to try and get unemployment benefits from Oregon state when I move there. I haven’t worked in Oregon in 3 years I don’t think I can draw from there?

        • You continue to collect from Washington, the state currently paying your benefits. My response should have read:

          Yes, you can live anywhere in the US and collect from Washington. Residency in Washington is not a requirement. Yes, you can apply for jobs in Oregon. Keep a log/record, similar to what you are now doing in WA.

  • Joy R

    I was discharged from my employer and approved for benefits in March 2017 by ESD. Later that month, I found a part-time, temp, non-contracted school bus driving position for a local school district. I reported my income each week when filing my weekly UI claim. When the school year ended in June, I reported that I was laid-off since there were no more hours available to me. In doing so, ESD sent me a letter in August 2017 requesting more information about the work that I had been performing for the school district. And, although the job was PT, Temp and non-contracted, they have now denied benefits between June 2017 and September 2017 (i.e., summer break), which was technically already approved.

    During the break, I continued to look diligently for FT commensurate office-style work (that I used to do) and filed weekly claims as required. ESD states that I have to file an appeal if I disagree with their denial determination. I am working on my appeal form but am concerned that ESD is going to require that I refund benefits paid between June 26, 2017 and Sept 2, 2017. The benefits earned during the summer break have been critical to make ends meet but I’m concerned that ESD will require me to pay it back because I had been working for the school district.

    I am not looking to file a claim against the school district; only collect the benefit that was already approved based on the base year earnings well in advance of any time worked with the school district. I need advice on how to proceed with completing my appeal form and subsequent OAH hearing. Any direction or insight is appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • WA should approve benefits as claim was based on full-time employment. School employment always muddies the waters whether full or part-time. Interviewers are not given the latitude to deviate from the rules. In your appeal request, outline clearly the situation. You will need to repeat that at the appeal hearing.

  • T Foster

    I was recently let go as my position was eliminated due to a company restructure. I am receiving severance pay and reported that on my UI claim. I just noticed my weekly claim is coded “excess earnings” with 0.00 paid out. Can you help me understand what this means?

    • It may depend on how your severance is being paid out – lump sum or weekly. If weekly, it could affect your benefits. This is what WA says on severance:

      Q. How does severance pay, pay in lieu of notice or continuation pay affect my benefits?
      A. 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 payment you receive or are entitled to receive to the claims center.

      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 need to contact WA for an explanation.

  • Diana LaRose

    The “quarters” and “base year” rules can end up getting you denied benefits for ridiculous reasons.

    I recently lost my job through no fault of my own. My first day of “nonwork” was August 1, 2017. I had held this full-time job since mid-March 2017. Total hours: 832 Well over the 680 required for benefits. (I hadn’t worked for 8 months prior to this, partly due to back surgery/recovery. )

    If my start date and end date had been 4 weeks earlier, and I had been let go at the beginning of July, I would have qualified for benefits using an alternate base year; in my case, the hours worked during the last two completed quarters, All of my 832 hours would have been counted because they fell in either the Jan-Feb-Mar quarters or the Apr-May-Jun quarter. Same thing if I’d started in May and been let go in October. But because I was let go at the beginning of August, I can’t count my July hours because they are not in a “completed” quarter, Without those hours, I can count only 648 hours – not enough to qualify.

    With any system where you have to meet specific numbers, there are always people who are disappointed when they come up short. But missing out because the universe saw fit to bestow employment on you in one month as opposed to another…that makes no sense at all.

    • You aren’t completely out of luck, just have to wait until the quarter changes. In your case, provided you remain unemployed, apply again the first week in October. At that time, WA will use wages through 9/30/2017.

      Alternate base periods vary widely among the states. Some states (only two or three, NJ and MA come to mind) will take earnings through date of discharge if necessary. Most states do not. Some states have no alternate base period at all, others only in cases of disability. The majority of states do at least have one ABP which will examine earnings through the most recently completed quarter prior to discharge – which is the case in WA.

      Strategic filing can provide a benefit or better benefits, but one sometimes has to wait depending on one’s work history and state.

  • Anthony

    Hello, Can someone provide me some information or direct me to where I can find the information. I am active duty military, my wife works full time. I have orders to Alaska, at what point can she quit and file for unemployment and begin collecting? Is it the expectation that she is to continue working until the day before we are supposed to leave?

    • To be safe, your wife should not quit any earlier than a week prior to the move. Quits too far in advance of a move are viewed as suspect. There is also the issue of able and availability. The week she is packing/moving, she would not be available to work at a new position in Alaska. She should not file for benefits until you have actually moved and she is in a position to search for and begin work in Alaska if it is offered. She can easily file online when you have reached your Alaska destination.

  • Jack Arnett

    Hello all!

    I’m leaving this comment here in hopes I can get some clarification on some issues regarding UI. I’ve been on medical leave for the last 3.5 months for various health issues, and the last month of my leave I’ve been actively seeking other employment. Essentially, while employed, I’ve not been able to work my current job, but could definitely be doing some other kind of work, and am actively searching for that work. Because of my chronic health issues, I’m really not sure how much longer I’ll last doing my current job (walmart floor associate) or if I’m even able to go back. I was wondering given my currently situation, or if I do indeed have to quit my current job, if I am eligible for any kind of UI benefits. I am rather skeptical, but a fellow patient I see often, pointed me in this direction and said I may be able to benefit while I try to find employment that better suit my needs.

    • Sounds like sooner or later Walmart will discharge you anyway. It would be better for you to wait for the discharge vs. quitting. It is always much easier to obtain benefits under a discharge v. a quit.

      That said, if you want to quit, you must first make an effort to preserve the employment relationship by asking Walmart for work other than floor associate which will accommodate your medical limitations. If Walmart refuses, only then can you quit. If you’re lucky, that request will trigger a discharge or a request for your resignation.

      You would apply for benefits because you are no longer physically able to do the job you had but you are fit to do other work which does not require you be on your feet all day. You would need to provide WA with medical documentation of your physical limitations and fitness for other work.

  • Paula H.

    Hi. I have been placed on admin. leave for alleged policy violations to do with a conflict of interest involving my ex spouse.

    I had a meeting with a panel at which I explained that I operated in a read-only mode as is the rule I was aware of from my previous employment, when handling records, and due to the nature of the conflict of interest, I was at times requested by my manager to pull up same exact record and viewing of it was not something that was treated as prohibited.

    I strictly stuck to the rules of no editing or personally handling any documents associated with the file per my knowledge of how to handle such conflict of interest – essentially a read only mode, and every entry is initialed in our system so any entry and change to the record is recorded and they have it, they can see I have never made any entries, deletions or changes to the records. There is no written policy or procedure in my department or in HR policies (or even in the industry) regarding handling of the conflict of interest. I was never told it wasn’t ok to view the records.

    two more managers later, my employer is “cleaning house” and I am now faced with accusation of willful violation of policies for viewing the records for personal gain – I did not have any personal gain, and I never breached confidentiality or used any of the information for personal gain.

    I have explained that I did access the record to track next set proceedings dates as in my understanding viewing it was not prohibited, and I had to do so in order to manage my work schedule and time off requests.

    My director after my meeting with HR panel, simply concluded that I am, in her opinion, guilty of multiple policy violations and I am facing a pre-disciplinary hearing which will most likely end in termination.

    I was adamant at questioning appointment that if I knew viewing was disallowed, I would absolutely adhere to that limitation and would never knowingly put my job on the line. I strictly followed no-editing, no handling rules I was aware of – as evidenced by the files themselves. I am being given no warning, no chance to correct the apparently wrong behavior. I am just being terminated.

    Being fired for policy violation is a career suicide. I need to protect my employability. I am a single mom with 2 kids to support and I am their only bread winner.

    So I am being fired for looking at records I wasn’t supposed to look at, and for admitting I did, both for work related and for personal reasons (such as safety concerns and being stalked while at work).

    I am considering resignation to save my ability to apply for other jobs in the field, but if I resign, sounds like I will not be eligible for unemployment after having paid into it for many years. The union rep said this is a unique situation and they will go forward with grievance if I am terminated.

    My dilemma is: Do I fight for my dignity and make them fire me or do I Save my name and resign in face of imminent termination? Will I be denied unemployment benefits in either case?

    • All that matters in WA is rules violation. If you resign, for you sure you won’t get benefits. If you wait for the discharge, employer will need to prove your “misconduct” was intentional and caused employer harm. You have a much better chance of getting benefits on discharge – but will experiance an initial denial and need to appeal. Process will take at least two months.

  • J D

    I am a salaried professional employee who was hired at $38K last Sept., but slow business and low resulting billings led to a ~1/3 reduction to my salary a 6+ months into the job, starting in March, and then, more recently, in July, they cut it yet again, down to just over $17K, for a total 54% decrease from my original starting pay. My employer continues to be upset about me being unable to meet their billable hour requirements, despite the recent lack of incoming business traffic to sustain that level of billings these last months during which my pay has been repeatedly cut, as outlined. Now, my employer recently threatened to fire me at or after my annual review next month if I somehow am not able to dramatically improve the situation, which I don’t anticipate is likely absent some business miracle. However, I’ve been kinda considering quitting anyway because my 1-year apartment lease is also up for renewal now and I cannot commit to renew it for another full year at an increased rent when my salary has now been cut by so much since the first of the year and I barely qualified to rent an apt here last year on my original starting salary. So, my question is: Am I better off waiting to be fired next month and maybe risk them potentially alleging “repeated violations of policy” as potential “misconduct,” which in this case I suppose would have to be my inability thus far to consistently meet their billable hour goals, as that’s what they’re usually complaining about, without reference or regard to the amount of incoming business and work I have to support those billings (does that even potentially equal “misconduct” here??). OR, am I maybe better off just giving notice and quitting now on the basis that my current lease is up and I can’t really afford to commit to re-upping it again essentially due to the 54% salary pay cut? I also can’t afford to qualify for and secure any cheaper, alternative housing on my now-reduced salary. As a result, my only option then will be to move in with a friend who lives over two hours away in the immediate term just for something affordable, which means that I may well end up having to quit my current job at the end of the month before their annual review anyway in favor of moving. I have raised these concerns with the management but they have outright ignored them in favor of unhelpfully reiterating the firm’s goals and expectations. So, it’s really looking like this job is about to be done no matter how I look at it, whether I am fired next month, quit due to salary decrease, or am just forced to move away under the circumstances (and necessarily quit as a result of that). So, given the situation, what is my best option to make sure I qualify for unemployment if/when this job ultimately ends?

    • Wait for the discharge, absolutely. Poor performance is not disqualifying provided you did not intentionally perform poorly. Quits are always higher hurdle. The salary reductions alone are a sufficient material change to your employment contract as basis for a good cause quit. Housing is far more subjective – don’t go there.

      In your case, a discharge is imminent. Wait for it.

  • Tim Schartung


    I recently resigned my position to avoid being fired after a short period of being on a performance deficiency plan. I had been with my employer for 5 years and moved up over the first 4 years with them. A restructure last fall resulted in a new supervisor whom I didn’t connect with and this lead to being asked to step down into a lower position or being written up for lack of leadership (in the supervisor’s opinion). At that point, I just wanted to get as far away from this toxic person as I could, as I received no coaching and no feedback on what their expectations were of me as a leader working for them. In January of this year, I started in my new role and was working for a former peer, similarly I received no direction on expectations or coaching/training for my new role. In May, I was presented with a laundry list of leadership deficiencies and was put on a performance plan in mid-June. Within two weeks of having the plan issued to me, I was told that I would not survive it and that I needed to look for another job, either within my organization or outside it. A month later, I was asked what my timeline was for leaving, still having received no coaching on the deficiencies outlined in the “plan”. When I offered up 30 days, I was told that the timeline my supervisor had been given was the end of July and that I could either resign or be terminated at that point. Do I have a legitimate claim to unemployment benefits?

    • This would have been so much easier in the end if you had just waited for the discharge. Unless employer asserts misconduct, you would had an immediate approval. Now, you will be initially denied and need to appeal to prove your circumstances. You should get benefits if WA recognizes the quit in lieu of imminent discharge. Assemble a good paper trail.

      You may want to read this:

      Not definitive on your situation but know that the states don’t try to help you find a good cause reason.

  • Dave Mercer

    I took a job with a company in Renton. They told me when I was hired that they were moving to Federal Way within 6 months. The residents were able to prevent the company from moving into their neighborhood. Now I am stuck with a 5 hour round trip commute from Union to Renton. Not sure how much longer I can do it, can I quit and collect benefits?

    • Yes. The job is not as represented. No fault of your employer’s or you – but their promise that location would change didn’t materialize. Five-hour round trip commute is unreasonable in any state. It’s very likely you’ll experience an initial denial and need to appeal to have the facts of your situation properly examined. Interviewers when you first apply are given very little latitude on subjective decisions. In your case, you’ve been doing the commute for a while so will be initially presumed to have accepted these terms of employment. You should win at appeal.

  • Lauren L

    Im from Georgia and moved to WA to be with my fiancé and start a life with him here. I had a great job in GA and filed for unemployment and was granted, however very bad with the max at 14 weeks which is pennies here in WA. My UI expired last week and I just started a new job Tuesday and was just wrongfully terminated by an employer today ( 4 days) and seeking legal help. Would I be able to apply and be approved for UI here in WA?

    • Probably not because you have no WA earnings, but apply anyway. You don’t lose anything by trying. Q – on what basis did GA approve you? GA only pays trailing spouse to married people in the military – you don’t qualify in either category.

  • Cynthia MacGeagh

    I recently accepted a job in Charlotte, NC. It is a great career opportunity for me. I discussed with my husband and family and we decided to go for it – this new adventure. This means my husband submitted his resignation (verbally) to his employer – explaining my growth opportunity. A co-worker said that we MAY be able to file a trailing spouse unemployment claim. Do we do that here in Washington or in North Carolina? Is this a real thing? What is needed? We have been fortunate enough to have never had to file a claim; but, I think we’re going to need the extra help with this move. Please advise. Many Thanks!

    • Your husband files for trailing spouse benefits in WA because that is where he has earned his wages – which is your good fortune. NC is one of the worst states for unemployment benefits, generally. You don’t want a NC claim. Maximum NC benefit is $350/wk and only for 13 weeks, whereas WA pays up to $681/wk for 26 weeks.

      Know that he may need to appeal to get benefits. Some State of WA interviewers are using old legislation to deny. Don’t accept a denial. He is entitled to benefits, per this:

      (2) With respect to separations that occur on or after September 6, 2009:
      (b) An individual has good cause and is not disqualified from benefits under (a) of this subsection only under the following circumstances:
      (iii) The claimant: (A) Left work to relocate for the employment of a spouse or domestic partner that is outside the existing labor market area; and (B) remained employed as long as was reasonable prior to the move;

      – about 3/4 down on this page:

      Your husband also needs to speak to his employer about preserving the employment relationship – i.e., working remotely, work in another office. WA will want to know he made this effort.

  • Jane Smith

    I suffered from a car accident that caused my anixety to be really bad. I commuted an hour to work but my workplace said I don’t have choice but to work in a project that was a 2 hours commute. The anixety was bad and my doctor put me on medical leave for a week. The medicine was strong and after a week, I wasn’t allow to drive unless it was an emergency and due to sleeping 16 hours, I couldn’t work normal hours and had a quit.

    In this cause, do I qualifed for unemployment? My doctor still wants me to ease off my med due to side effects. I have been unemployed for one month and have still not been release from medication and to work.

    • A one-way increase from a one-hour to two-hour commute is a material change to your employment contract. In reality this is a discharge from your current job and an offer of new, unsuitable work. You could have quit on that basis alone, medical reasons notwithstanding.

      Medical reasons are also a good cause reason for a quit. Apply for benefits immediately. Be prepared to supply medical evidence of your issues. WA will pay you when you are medically released to search for and accept full-time work. Meanwhile, it will take WA three-four weeks to process the claim.

  • You said a one-time incident does not always constitute misconduct what about a negative post on Facebook and I didn’t know they had instituted a rule I never seen it or signed anything what’s my chances how do you think I’ll do on my appeal

  • Al Santana

    My wife works from home for a out of state company, is Full time but has been out of work for tech issues. Would she still be eligible to apply for unemployment for that back pay?

    • If tech issues are the fault of the employer, she should file for benefits – and do so immediately. Benefits will be paid from the week of filing, not any weeks preceding that for which she was not able to work due to company tech issues.

  • Darren McClain

    I was recently denied benefits due to the nature that I quit a job that I was told it was not working out.
    I will file an appeal on Monday morning. I was told on numerous times that I was going to be let go, they would run ads on Craigslist for my job.
    A co-worker came to my house and told me that it wasn’t working out and I needed to leave.
    Will I win an appeal?

    • A denial is standard at the initial stages in your situation. Interviewers/claims examiners have little latitude for subjective decisions. At your hearing, document carefully the dates you were told you were going to be let go and who made these statements, any evidence of hostile work environment because of these statements, the visit of the coworker tantamount to coercion, why that coworker told you to quit and not your superior, who put her up to that, copies of the ads on Craigslist. You have a reasonably good chance of success at appeal if you can assemble good documentation. Also consult an unemployment attorney or see Legal Aid if you can.

      • Darren McClain

        Thank you for response. Do you know how long the appeal process last or takes?
        I did my appeal already.

        • Do you mean you already had the appeal hearing? If so, the decision should be made within two weeks of the hearing. Otherwise, the appeal hearing is usually held within 4-6 weeks of when you made the request. A decision forthcoming a week or two later. Get legal help if you can. There must be WA precedent on a quit in lieu of discharge (you were continually told you would be let go), hostile work environment, coercion.

  • David

    My wife has worked for a healthcare corporation in Washington state for 13 years as a contract employee. She was recently let go due to some restructuring in her department. Does she have any claim to unemployment compensation?

    • Of course, as long as she was paid W-2, with withholdings for FICA, etc. Absolutely, she should apply before the end of the month to preserve LAG for a possible future claim. WA has a very generous benefit. Should she work off and on in the next year and is laid off again, the LAG from this claim together with her earnings should provide a second equivalent claim a year from now should she need it.

  • Patrick Spray

    We moved to Washington state June 2016. I work full time remotely from a home office on a salary exempt basis (e.g. no overtime) for my employer of 14 years whose corporate offices are located in Maryland. If I got laid off – what state do I file through: Washington state or Maryland? According to HR my state income tax is determined by residency. How are my unemployment benefits determined? By my place of residency (Washington). Where I am physically located when I perform the work (Washington)? By the company’s location (Maryland)?


    • Unemployment benefits are paid by the state to which your employer reported your wages and has paid UI tax, not necessarily where you perform the work. It is quite possible even though you live and work in WA, your wages being reported to MD.

      If you are laid off, apply in WA first as it pays a better benefit than MD – max $698 v. $430. If WA shows no wages for you, then you will need to apply in MD.

  • Cris

    My boss asked for my resignation saying “things are just not working out”. I did not say yes; I did not say no; I was not asked to sign anything; I did not provide a letter of resignation nor was I asked to. I was walked out shortly after.

    I my view, I was fired. Any chance this strange situation would allow me to qualify for benefits?

    • You are correct. You were fired/discharged. You were walked out the door with “things are just not working out.” Being a “bad fit” is not disqualifying. Apply for benefits. You are eligible.

  • Joshua Stansbury

    I was recently denied unemployment benefits because: “You’re attending school full time to receive an academic degree. You’re not willing to drop, reschedule or miss your classes in order to accept a job.”

    I am enrolled in college classes part time, mostly online, so as to keep my schedule open. I have one physical class that is for a short time two days a week. I would indeed be absolutely willing to reschedule or drop this class if it did indeed conflict with a job offer.

    What is the best way to get that information to them, and is that still enough for them to deny me benefits?

    • Decision letter should have provided appeal instructions. You file a request for an appeal hearing immediately, send in a copy of your class schedule with your statement repeating the above. WA may remand back for a redetermination or hold an appeal hearing.

  • Dalton Samford

    hello i was wondering how i can see all the past employers and all the information ive put on my UI claim i started school and when i logged into the unemployment login and it said that i failed to respond to a survey i got no email nor letter in the mail i have gone through everything i had to do filed my claims and also attended events at work source but now it says i have been disqualified and that i now owe 1000 dollars i was separated from the military and i am still looking for work but i am having a major issue i dont want to end up homeless if my appeal does not work in my favor. i have tried contacting the unemployment office and i have the same issues everyone else is having with the phone lines. Who can i contact to see a detailed report of everywhere ive applied all of my logs from my past claim are sitting in a storage container in god knows where due to preparing to move to texas in the next month and theres no way i can possibly get my logs before the appeal due to my current situation.

    • You need to email your State of Washington elected representative ASAP. Find yours, here:

      Emphasize the urgency of your situation. State reps are very effective at cutting through the red tape and usually respond immediately.

      • Dalton Samford

        Is there anyway i can get a detailed log for my ui claim ive submitted online since my paper copies are across the country how would i go about getting them i have also emailed my representative but am still waiting for their reply but i appreciate the timely response. much better than the actual unemployment office

  • Roberta Sleuth

    Should their be any stipulation for military spouse? I applied online in December, and feel like I’m getting the run arounds. I was denied, because the letter I received stated I quit my job. All the documents I received I had annotated, leaving due to active duty military soldier receiving military orders to relocate. beginning of Feburary I was told that I had to go through a hearing after I had appealed. Now, I have received another denial letter. I just need some clarification on my status.

    • At the moment you have no status. Other than to appeal to the Board of Review. At the appeal hearing, did you present evidence of your spouse’s military transfer? Is the new location too far for you to commute? Exactly what does the decision say?

      WA statute clearly allows for trailing spouse for military transfer. There must another element clouding this decision, such as did you quit your job too far in advance of the move? Were you not on your job long enough?

      Also, email your state representative. Have him inquire on why WA is refusing to pay, in your situation, this state-mandated benefit for military spouses. Find your rep, here:

  • Nicholas Siefried

    Representative got a hold of unemployment. And within 2 days I was contacted and told my issues had been resolved and payment had been issued. Call your representative… it works.

  • Nicholas Siefried

    After reading this thread I got ahold of one of my representatives. I was called back within the hour and had someone telling me they are going to contact someone on the unemployment side. This all felt very helpful. As I have not spoken to a real person about any of this for 2 months. Nothing has been resolved yet but I wanted to let people know that they CAN get someone to talk to about it by finding they’re representatives and contacting them.

  • Nicholas Siefried

    When i filed for unemployment i accidentally hit the button saying that I was in school… this was a mistake. And I have been paying for it for 2 months. I have not received any checks. I was denied because i was a full time student. I applied for an appeal. I received a letter saying i was again approved for bennefits. But now all my claims have a “disqualified” status and I still havn’t received any help. I am currently waiting for someone to answer the phone after an hour and 42 minutes. I just need someone to tell me what to do.

  • Abigail

    It is completely outrageous what is going on with Washington’s unemployment system. I have been waiting a month for any word on my claim, multiple messages through the online system and phone calls with no response.

    I faxed my documents for the CAT two weeks ago and have no idea if they were received or not, approved or not, nothing.

    Treating people this way is unacceptable.

  • BDN

    I had to quit my job since my husband had to be relocated for his job. The job site for his job closed in Washington State so they relocated him to another site in Arizona.

    I was told that I would be eligible to apply for WA state unemploment benefits due to “good cause.” However, I just received a letter from ESDWA stating my application was denied.

    I am in the process of appealing…….is voluntarily quitting due for spousal job relocation not considered “good cause?”

    • What reason did the decision letter give for the denial? WA offers trailing spouse benefits in the event of a job transfer, per USDOL:

      To relocate for the employment of spouse or domestic partner that is outside the existing labor market area, provided that the individual remained employed for as long as was reasonable prior to the move.

      Unless you quit your job too far in advance of the move, you should be approved.

      That said, for some reason, some interviewers in many states automatically deny an obviously qualified claimant for these state-mandated benefits. These denials are always overturned at appeal. Provide evidence of your husband’s job relocation, of course.

      • BDN

        Thank you so much for your response.

        They listed the following laws for their denial :
        RCW 50.20.050
        WAC 192-150-085

        I actually made sure I still gave my employer the proper 2 week notice so I don’t believe I left too far in advance of the move.

        The following is a copy of what I submitted for my appeal. Please let me know what you think:

        [ ” I am appealing this decision as I should qualify due to the following:

        1. I had to quit my job with Multicare due to my husband’s job relocation to Arizona.
        2. If you contact ####### it will also show in my employee file that I quit due to my husband’s job relocation. I understand that you only have two categories for employers: voluntarily or involuntarily, however with ######, the justification is identified as my husbands job relocation and therfore I should be eligible for “good cause” for benefits.
        3. Relocation letter from my husbands employer can be provided if needed.
        Please let me know if anything else is needed to proceed with appeal process and reverse the decision as soon as possible. “]

        I also have tried numerous times to send messages through portal system for updates ……with no success. Their messaging system is useless!

        My other question is…. once my appeal is overturned, will I then be paid for the last 5 weeks that were initally denied?

        • Looking at RCW 50.20.050, it would appear USDOL (my source) is incorrect and may have misread the statute. WA changed its law within the past ten years so that trailing spouse benefits are now limited to military transfers only. This is very unusual for a liberal state, and I find this hard to believe, frankly. Over the years, many have inquired on WA trailing spouse. Military has never come up as a WA issue.

          RCW 50.20.050 states:

          (2) With respect to claims that have an effective date on or after January 4, 2004:

          (b) An individual is not disqualified from benefits under (a) of this subsection when:

          (B) With respect to claims that have an effective date on or after July 2, 2006, he or she: (I) Left work to relocate for the spouse’s employment that, due to a mandatory military transfer, is outside the existing labor market area; and (II) remained employed as long as was reasonable prior to the move;

          If you read the first part of that link, you will note claims established before 2004 did not have a military restriction.

          Nonetheless, proceed with the appeal. It is possible the link above is outdated, but don’t count on it. Another internet search I did found trailing spouse for military only, as well.

          Prior to the hearing, fax written evidence of this transfer to the appeal tribunal. Since you are now in AZ, this should be a phone hearing.

          Should you win, you will be paid for all weeks claimed from the date you applied for benefits, with the exception of the waiting week. Continue to file weekly claims. And, good luck.

          Still *smh* – so odd for WA to do this.

          • pragmatist

            How did this turn out?

            I’m reading the law you linked to, and it looks like it was updated again to remove the military requirement in 2009. Scroll down past the 2006 section of that law ( All the underlined sections are the new revisions from 2009.

            There’s a whole new section which includes the following language:

            (2) With respect to separations that occur on or after September 6, 2009:
            (b) An individual has good cause and is not disqualified from benefits under (a) of this subsection only under the following circumstances:
            (iii) The claimant: (A) Left work to relocate for the employment of a spouse or domestic partner that is outside the existing labor market area; and (B) remained employed as long as was reasonable prior to the move;

            Note: I’m no expert on this stuff, just someone else going through the same thing (my wife is graduating from medical school and received a mandatory residency assignment in Maryland, so I’m about to quit my job and am looking into my options). So please, any update to how this turned out would be very helpful to me.

          • Never heard how it turned out, but you are probably correct. The new language comports w/USDOL information. WA is much too liberal a state to restrict trailing spouse to military only. The 2009 change has been in place long enough that WA people should not be citing old law. Be prepared to appeal any denial based on this language you’ve found. That said, even CA, which is a very claimant-friendly state, will occasionally deny obvious qualifying trailing spouse benefits incorrectly citing another part of its code and while completely ignoring trailing spouse. These denials are always overturned on appeal.

  • Renee

    Hi- I’m on unemployment currently. I have a couple weeks coming up where I wont be able to do my required worksearch due to family matters. I already know I wont be paid for these weeks & that is fine, but what I can not find an answer to is this: Do I call each week & say I was not “able&available” for work or do I just not file those weeks & reopen the claim after. What is the proper &/or best way to handle this correctly?

  • Jeanne Morton

    Unfortunately, I have attempted to contact a real person of some kind at, the telephone “help line”, secured messaging through SAW, as well as email to state representative since applying over four weeks ago. Claim is still listed as ‘pending’, unable to get any assistance whatsoever or even someone to respond via phone, email or ‘secure messaging system’. As of 02/01/2017 I and my child will be homeless due to exhausting savings, and lack of any financial assistance from a program that I have paid into for the past 30 years (and was blessed not to have to utilize) until the end of last year. Local charities are unable to offer any assistance whatsoever other than to direct you to the local homeless shelter (since the highest number of registered sex offenders in the city are within 4 blocks of that area a very unsafe alternative). Perhaps my state representative would allow me to sleep in his office until this system is functioning correctly. Any suggestions? Is there another telephone number other than the 800 number?

    • Keep bugging your state rep. If necessary visit his office or home. CA unemployed, in the hundreds of thousands, went through this exact same hardship in 2013 for a long time, many ended up living in their cars, I am sorry to say.

      • Jeanne Morton

        Thank you for the response to my questions. I heard back from my state Senator’s office, and will continue to pursue the other elected officials. February 2nd is Homeless education day for our state legislators. An opportunity to ‘tell an authentic story to our legislators’ and highlight how the ‘safety net’ of unemployment is non-existent and in fact, is creating larger numbers of homeless families on the streets of Olympia.

        • Alison E Abraham

          Hi Daphne and Jeanne,
          I am currently having the same issue. I applied two weeks ago, unfortunately on a Sunday evening which I believe potentially made my filing more complex (timing-wise) and my payment is still pending. The week I claimed, I received three days of severance which totaled $600 for the week (exceeding the $ limit that still allows you to claim unemployment benefits, I believe.) I claimed for this week because I wanted all of my claims and documents to reflect my situation exactly. I now regret doing this, and wish I had filed for the week after (which the website gave me the option to do AT THE TIME.) After filing for this week I knew I would not receive benefits fore, there’s now no option to file for the following weeks, and my initial “payment” for that week (total of $0) is pending! Like the others on this site, I can’t get through to phone representatives, I haven’t received any responses from them via the website… and I just now learned that there is no in-person office. The only helpful info I’ve received has been from this thread. Just contacted my district representatives per this discussion.

          Any updates on your situation Jeanne? Any further comments, Daphne?

          BTW — DAPHNE, you are a hero!

  • MDial

    How do I ask for a redetermination or recalculation of benefits if I made more over the last few quarters than what my original UC was determined?

    • You can’t. The base year income for that claim on which the benefit is based remains fixed for the life of the claim (benefit year).

      Benefits of an existing claim are never recalculated because of new earnings later in the benefit year. Those new wages will create eligibility for a new second year claim and use of the LAG (unused wages) remaining in the first claim.

  • Justin La

    I have kept calling the last 4 weeks. I am not sure how the queue works. What I mean is that I have answered the queue questions over and over again. After answering the automated voice says I will be transferred over to an agent and then I get the message, “Due to high call volume we are unable to assist you please call back later.” Then it hangs up on me. I have not be able to get an agent. This continues to happen over and over again. Is it because the way I answer the questions. I have worked for the federal government. I worked in two different states being Washington and Oregon. I would like to file for a combine wage claim. Does the queue weed out how the questions being answered for the time being or is it that there is still a huge volume of people calling in? I don’t think the queue is efficient if it hangs up on me and makes me go back to the end of the line.

    • Per WA website:

      PLEASE NOTE: Call wait times are only accurate during regular claim center incoming call hours (Tues-Fri, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM, closed on holidays)

      Current call wait time is: Due to our recent computer system upgrade, wait times are variable, and longer than usual.

      Best times to reach us: Early in the morning and later in the week.

      Hardest times to get through: Mondays and Tuesdays and between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day.

      WA is having serious technology and phone issues due to this upgrade. You need to start calling early a.m. before 8 and keep dialing until you get put into a queue. Or, email your state representative on this issue. Find yours, here:

  • Eddie

    I worked in Washington State for a while and was laid off. I am now in Louisiana still without work, Can I get benefits from Washington State? Also, I have been calling nonstop for the past 2 weeks and have been hung up on by the phone system each time. Is there any way I can speak to a person? When I go online to apply it stops me and tells me to call because I have wages from out of state. Please help me I am in desperate need of income and work.

    • Yes, you can apply in Washington. WA had a recent software and hardware upgrade which has caused serious delays in claims processing and phone service. However, its website says this:

      PLEASE NOTE: Call wait times are only accurate during regular claim center incoming call hours (Tues-Fri, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM, closed on holidays)

      Current call wait time is: Due to our recent computer system upgrade, wait times are variable, and longer than usual.

      Best times to reach us: Early in the morning and later in the week.

      Hardest times to get through: Mondays and Tuesdays and between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day.

      All you can do is continue to try the phones. Start early before 8.a.m. and keep redialing until you are put into a queue. Consider this your full-time job until you get through.

  • D Chavira

    I have been attempting to contact someone, anyone, at unemployment for two weeks now. Absolutely nothing. The phone message literally tells me they are too busy taking other calls and then disconnects every single time I have called (which I have done in excess of three hundred times in two weeks,.) I have been directed to send a secure message through the SAW site, which I have done every single day for a week. Not one response. What is my recourse here? This is outrageous.

    • WA is having serious technology issues. Email your state representative on this issue. Find yours, here:

      • D Chavira

        Thank you. I have sent an email to our state representatives ( a sentence I never thought I’d have to use while trying to receive benefits I am entitled to and have paid into for years.) I appreciate your response, though, so thank you very much.

      • D Chavira

        Daphne, I appreciate your time answering questions. I sent an email to my state reps and copied it to two others. What results should I be expecting from this? Will they get in contact with me? So far, I still haven’t gotten in touch with unemployment, either by phone or secure message on SAW. No response to my emails to the state reps, either, although yesterday (Monday) being a holiday may have something to do with that. Thanks again for your time.

        • Generally, reps respond promptly. Holiday for sure affected this. They may contact WA and have WA contact you. WA is in a real mess and will be that way for a while. When states change software or hardware, it can take a long, long time to straighten things out.

          • D Chavira

            Literally zero response from all three of my state representatives. Calls to unemployment have remained the same: the lines are busy with other callers and the advice is to leave a secure message on the SAW site and then I am disconnected. I am so discouraged. My claim is open and in good standing and I did not receive my benefits for the week I was laid off during the holidays (I’m in construction, I leave my claim open so I don’t have to worry about the wait week.) I’m not asking for a handout, I’m asking for the benefits due me.

            Thank you, Daphne, for your assistance; you’ve literally been my only response over the three weeks of attempting to rectify this situation.

          • D Chavira

            So this is where we are: same exact place as before. I got a response from an assistant to state rep Vincent Buys, who gave me an email for the director of employment security. I emailed him and the the next day he sent me an email saying that someone would be in touch with me “shortly.” That was two days ago. Any more advice for me?Anyone else I can reach out to?

            It’s been 25 days.

          • It’s been “25 days” from what? In most states, processing time from application to payment is at minimum three weeks, with many states taking six-ten weeks. Average time frame seems to four-five weeks. If you just applied three weeks ago, then WA isn’t all that derelict, yet.

            If you applied much longer ago than that, then response from “asst” to your rep is USELESS. He/she took an easy out. You must get this rep PERSONALLY INVOLVED. If necessary, send him a letter AT HOME. Honestly, he can’t live all that far from you that you couldn’t pay a visit to his home, or write a letter and put it in his mailbox. Extreme, I know, but extraordinary times require extraordinary methods. Depends on how desperately you need your money. There’s just too much of this stalling going on in too many states. WA does have the excuse of a technology upgrade which messes things up for a very long time in every state which has done this. Nonetheless, your bills don’t stop.

            Email your rep, AGAIN – and call him – DEMAND TO SPEAK TO HIM PERSONALLY – and tell him you still haven’t heard from anyone, that this is unacceptable, that you have bills to pay and MUST HAVE YOUR MONEY. And, keep doing that. And, write and call your governor and head of employment security and don’t stop until you get action.

          • D Chavira

            It has been 25 days of me trying to contact someone daily. I did not get my check for the week I was laid off. My claim was open and in good standing and it wasn’t a wait week as I leave my claim open because I am in construction and a week’s work is never guaranteed in the winter months.

            I finally got a phone call last night after calling the director of employment security. He told me it is “his goal” to have someone contact me. I then got a call at 7 last night from someone who works with SAW and they said they had been told I was having issues with my SAW account. I told her my SAW account is working fine, but as I get no response from anyone with regard to the secure message system, it’s worthless. She was very sympathetic and told me I need to speak with someone in claims. I further explained that I have been attempting to do that for over three weeks and have literally been unable to speak with anyone or get in the phone queue (by the way, it doesn’t give you that option, it just hangs up on you, no matter what time you start to call.)

            She said … are you ready for this …. she’ll have someone call me.

            I have been vigilant in continuing to attempt to contact someone, I leave my phone on speaker phone and just hit redial over and over and over again while I’m working. I have now sent over twenty five emails and made literally hundreds and hundreds of calls.

            Washington’s system isn’t a mess, Washington’s system is broken.

            Thank you again for your continued support and for being (most likely) the only person people are getting any information from.

          • Let us know when you hear from someone. At least you got two callbacks. It’s very hard on all claimants when a state undergoes a technology upgrade. The issues last for a long, long time and create serious financial hardship. CA had a horrific nightmare in 2013, leaving over a million people without benefits for many months. The state hired Deloitte to upgrade the system, but didn’t run parallel operations when it went online, despite warnings from CA IT people there would be problems and, of course, the new system botched up everything and had no backup to correct the problems. Prior to this ‘upgrade,’ CA processing was flawless. MA, same experience. Both state legislatures investigated. Of course, none of these investigations in any way made those negatively affected whole. And, Deloitte still got paid.

            Sorry to hear this is happening yet again. Some things never change. Fortunately, you are only looking for a week’s benefits. New claimants waiting for weeks of payments and those with unresolved issues are really suffering.

          • D Chavira

            While I can certainly empathize with people who are having issues for weeks of payments being backed up, they are eligible for assistance from the state. When you are working just enough hours to keep you from claiming unemployment and keeping you just above the line to get assistance, it closes a lot of doors that are open to people who have nothing coming in. I don’t care to compare levels of suffering; when people are hurting, people are hurting.

            I finally heard back from Vincent Buys’ office, and from there my issues resolved relatively quickly (comparatively, anyway.) I still have yet to receive any reply whatsoever from Luanne Van Werven’s office. If people are looking
            for someone to actually assist them with issues, I recommend Mr. Buys.

            Best wishes to ALL who are having issues with their claims. One week or ten, I know that it is frustrating and difficult.

          • Thanks for the update. Good to hear your rep got results. Persistence pays off.


    I received unemployment benefits last year and never opened a SAW account that I was aware of. However, when I tried to get my 1099g info this AM the website said I had, when I tried to log in I couldn’t bc my user name wasn’t accurate. So I did the recover your user name bit and got 2 user names…how idk. Anyway, tried using both multiple times with old and new passwords and keep getting the error message that my SSN # is under another user name that I didn’t use (although tried with both they emailed me) and I need to re-sign in with that after they send me the user name associated with my SSN#. Big huge time consuming circle. Sooo…tried to call the # they gave and have been on hold for over 40 mins with no recorder letting me know how long it might be. Sooo…called the claims line and was told by recorder that all reps are busy helping others and are unable to help me at this time and to call back later or SIGN INTO MY SAW ACCOUNT.

    • WA is having serious technology issues, per this posted earlier:

      Contacted tech support last night 7-8-17 told me site would be down at least another week. Called phone line this morning and the said call back on weds there phone lines were not working.

  • Rosan Manyon

    I was receiving unemployeement beniftits the last quarter of 2016. I took a temp job that will be ending Jan 31. Will I be able reopen my claim and start receiving benifits after 1/31?



    • WA is having serious technology issues, per this posted earlier:

      Contacted tech support last night 7-8-17 told me site would be down at least another week. Called phone line this morning and the said call back on weds there phone lines were not working.

  • Artemio Valdez

    This is so rediculas and fastrating not able to use the website to claim or reopened a new claim, phones are busy or unable to get through its a frustrating time spend on the phone and website and long time consuming.
    Can any body tell me what to do at this time.

    • Call your city to determine who your state representative is, google his contact info or find it on the state website, then email or call him. Read responses below yours on this page.

    • Brian

      Contacted tech support last night 7-8-17 told me site would be down at least another week. Called phone line this morning and the said call back on weds there phone lines were not working. Missed two checks now this is insane

  • Bryce hutton

    How are you supposed to file your weekly claim online with the new saw system, wich sucks by the way nothing works, and I can’t find anywhere where it says file a weekly claim and the old website is not working so how do you file a weekly claim online now? The oh ones are always to busy so I have always just filed online and have created a saw account but you can’t file a weekly claim with it..???

    • WA is having some serious technology issues. Email or call your state representative – but you may need to contact your city to learn who that is and then call and/or email his office after you’ve done a websearch on how to contact him if you can’t find contact info here:

      • Bryce hutton

        So do we have any idea how long it will be before you can file a claim online again? Is there a spot on the new saw website because I don’t see one, and that’s what I need to know my state Rep, is not going to be able to tell me this….

  • Noel Anderson

    Have been calling every day for 3 weeks and continue to receive different error messages. Sorry all circuits are busy, please try your call later than hangs up on you. Or lets initial info be entered than says sorry due to difficulties your information can not be entered please call back later, hangs up. Or lets you enter all information, than says sorry due to techical difficulties your information cannot be saved in the system, hangs up. So what is a person to do? Have called 108 times this morning. Not able to use the online either, error message given as well saying you must call. VERY FRUSTRATING!!!!

    • OK, now is the time email your state representative. Find yours, here:

      The rep will be able to get through to WA and WA will contact you.

      • lynn sutton

        I tried going to my representative as suggested below… this is the message received:

        You have encountered an unexpected error. Please try again.
        If the error continues, please notify the Legislative Information Center at

        so, I can’t file for my weekly benefits, I can’t contact my representative…what am I supposed to do at this point? Is there a phone number that I can call in to? would look myself but when I try to go online it sends me to the new SAW page – which sucks btw!

      • lynn sutton

        i tried (again) and still get an error message for my legislative/congressional representative. HELP!!!

        • Send an email to the support link you posted.

          Tomorrow, call your city and ask for the name of the state representative for your district. Then look him up on the WA legislature website and send him an email or use google w/his name if that doesn’t work – or google phone number for his office if you can’t find it on the legislative website.

          Then, if WA has local unemployment offices you can visit, go there. Otherwise, wait to hear from the rep. You can also contact your governor. Check WA website for contact info.

          Per other posts, WA has been having a problem w/its phones and website. I tried the “find” feature, as well, also get an error message. This may be due to a new set of representatives taking office soon.

    • B

      As a former employee of TN Department of Labor, 220 French Landing Drive, Nashville TN; they put people on “ignore” by turning on “all circuits are busy” message. we are given a script to use as to what to tell people who call and ask about their unemployment. You probably haven’t gotten it yet because they cannot give you what they don’t have. I’m putting the truth out there because of the low down way they used me and then dumped me like used tissue paper!

  • Betina J.

    I have recently lost my job and I tried to apply online for unemployment but non of the links open. I live in Northgate, zip code 98133. Is there an office nearby to apply in person? Thank you

  • Mark seraile

    I was laid off on Thursday 12/29/2016. I had a contract with a company and my time was up there am I able to apply for unemployment. I also have been calling all day today and can’t seem to get through the phone keeps telling me there is difficulties and then just hangs up on my I have called more then 7 times and I just wanting to make sure my claim came through properly and that I can receive as soon as possibly

  • Tong

    Can I collect unemployment, I went on maternity leave for a few months, got laid off, but found another job. I was working full time before I went on maternity leave and got laid off. This new Jon I will be starting Jan 4 is only part time. Can I still collect unemployment?

    • You will be eligible for a claim based on the layoff/discharge from the last full-time employer. How much you will actually receive will depend on your part-time earnings. WA deducts approximately 73-75% of your gross earnings from your benefit.

      See p. 36, here:

      If you were actually discharged from that last job – which commonly occurs when employees take leaves of absence for any reason, FMLA, maternity, disability – so state when you apply. Do not call this a layoff if, in fact, employer discharged you – unless that employer clearly stated it was a layoff.

  • Victor

    I have question regarding retirement; I was recently fired from my work and I am 65 years old I’ve worked for 12 years at the same job. ,My question is, at this point is it better for me to retire or seek unemployment? and if I decide to proceed with the unemployment option, will that effect my retirement fund? Thank you in advance your replies.

    • State of WA pays a very nice benefit. By all means apply. You can still be “retired” and collect benefits provided you are doing work searches. I, and many others, have done exactly that. If you find a job you like, take it. If not, meanwhile you have the UE benefit to tide you over until you get your bearings.

      Not sure what you mean about “retirement fund.” DO NOT withdraw any money from your 401k. What you do is a DIRECT ROLLOVER to an personal IRA at a bank/brokerage firm – and then withdraw the money if you need it. 401k withdrawals are an offset to unemployment benefits, as are pensions. Withdrawals from personal IRA’s are not. Further, there is mandatory 20% federal withholding on 401k withdrawals/distributions.

      DO NOT under any circumstances directly take money from your 401k. Roll it over.

  • Wendy

    Hi- I recently received notice that my employer is retiring & I will be out of a job effective Dec 30th. I managed to get a temporary job for the tax seasonal starting on Jan 3rd that pays Alot! Less& probably less hours(still to be determined) but not a permanent position yet. I dont think that there is a gap big enough to file unemployment between the two positions. My question is if I can not find another job by the end of the tax season how will that effect unemployment if I was unable to open a claim at the end of my permanent job? Will it prevent me from getting unemployment? OR should I actually apply on the 30th to open a claim even tho I wont actually get a check and than reopen it after the seasonal position is over? Thank you.

    • This is a clean discharge. You apply immediately on 12/30 to establish the claim and secure the wages in your base period – even if you actually don’t begin to collect benefits for months.

      If you’re working part-time, it is quite likely you can file weekly claims reporting your part-time earnings and still receive a partial unemployment benefit. WA’s benefit is high enough that your part-time wages may not be a complete offset.

      If you end up working full-time and don’t claim for a few months, the claim is there to REOPEN when that job ends or the hours are reduced.

      Absolutely, apply immediately on 12/30.

  • wayne

    How many hours can I work in a week and still get a waiting week in?

    • You can’t. Any income earned during a waiting week normally prolongs the waiting week into the following week by at least a day or two, depending on the amount earned. Each state calculates this differently. Call WA and ask them what happens when you have earned income during a waiting week.

  • Hayley

    I told my boss that i am starting school January 3rd and need to go to part time, (I was full time 40 hrs a week)
    Without warning, she put my “On-Call” as of December 16th and only has me scheduled one day a week. (8 hours a week)
    Can i get unemployment until I find another part time job?

    • No, because you have quit (without good cause) your full-time job to go to school and asked for part-time work, instead. Essentially, you have materially altered the terms of your original employment contract. Employer is under no obligation to you at all and not obligated to pay unemployment benefits.

  • Hayden

    I have been working for a phone store since September 1st. I was notified just yesterday that said store is closing it’s doors permanently on the 31st of this month (December). Does that qualify me for unemployment? Do I apply now, or after the 31st? Thank you.

    • You apply on your last day of work, not before. If you apply in January, assuming you don’t have the requisite 680 hours of work in the one-year base period ending 9/30/2016, then WA will use wages Jan-Dec. 2016, which will include all earnings from this employer. If you have enough hours through 9/30/2016 and want to preserve the quarter ending 12/30/2016 for another future claim, then apply 12/30 or 12/31.

  • Jeremy

    In WA STATE do I still have to do 3 job contacts for the waiting week? Even though that week is not paid.

  • Amy Tee

    I work in childcare in a school in which my son also attends. While out on maternity leave for my second child the school emailed me to tell me that they’ve cancelled my son’s spot because I couldn’t make the last of my son’s tuition payment while on maternity leave which means I also lose my job. I asked if they could take it out of my next check when I return but they said no. Am I eligible for unemployment at least until I find another school?

    • Are you being discharged because your son no longer attends this school? If so, yes. If you are quitting because of this disenrollment, no.

      • Amy Tee

        I am not quitting at all. I had planned on coming back however they emailed me telling me that they’ve canceled his spot knowing that I can’t come back if I don’t have childcare for him. I honestly think that they don’t want me to come back so that’s why they’ve filled his spot. They told the DSHS office that they will be holding both of our spots until the end of January however just emailed me and told me otherwise.

        • If you have a written notice of discharge, then you’ve been discharged. Their assumption that you do not have child care is just that – an assumption. There is no Able and Available issue until you cannot report to work because of child care. That hasn’t occurred as yet, because you’ve been out on leave.

          If you have at least two quarters of earnings 10/01/2015 through 9/30/2016, apply for benefits now. Otherwise, wait until January when earnings Jan-Dec. 2016 will be used to determine your benefit.

          When you apply, state you have been discharged while on maternity leave. Reason: “you don’t know.” Again, their assumption on the child care issue cannot supported.

          A condition for receiving benefits is that you be Able and Available – i.e., searching for and able to accept work. Lack of child care is a personal issue and renders you NOT Available and ineligible for benefits. So, you need to have a plan in place on this issue when you apply for benefits – especially if your employer contests the claim and brings up this unsubstantiated issue.

  • Frustrated housekeeper

    So I currently work in housekeeping and they only have me working part time due to it being the slow time of the year. I was told since we are so slow I can collect unemployment until our pick up season to cover what I’m not getting paid currently. Do I qualify to receive unemployment for the cut in hours due to it being slow season?

  • Cristi

    I was recently fired from my job and I worked at a union store. They are saying it is misuse of company time and terminated me for it. I along with all of the other associates that worked would use our cellphones for music and such while we are working. I have a union contract that states they have to give me a verbal warning and a written warning but was not given any warnings as a matter of fact my manager had his phone on the same day I was called in and suspended and then terminated 2 days later when I went in with my union rep. Can I get unemployment benefits as I have worked for this company for nine years. The union has already filed a grievance and is doing what they need to do to get me my job back.

    • Did the company provide you with a policy handbook with a written rule on this issue? Even if it did, without a prior warning and no tangible proven harm to company because of this rules violation, WA should grant benefits, eventually. An interviewer may deny initially on the rules violation b/c interviewers do not have the authority to make subjective decisions. The interviewer may only see a rules violation. You may need to appeal. The appeals process will examine the issue more carefully and should overturn a denial. By all means apply, and work your way through the process.

  • Temp Worker

    I was laid off over the summer and found work through a temporary agency. Unfortunately, the temp agency doesn’t pay for the two week holiday break coming up. Can I file an unemployment claim?

    • Did you file a claim this summer when you were first laid off? You should have so as to not lose wages in your base period. You could then REOPEN that claim for the two weeks you are NOT working.

      If you haven’t filed a claim at all and are, in fact, being laid off, yes, you can open a claim for this layoff but it will be at least four weeks before WA approves the claim and pays benefits. Further, WA has an unpaid waiting week, so one of those two weeks won’t be paid at all.

      Now, if you are working and the temp agency is just not cutting checks, well, then, you are not eligible for benefits at all. A condition of receiving benefits is that you are NOT working.

  • Kim

    I just gave my notice last week so next week will be my last day working. I quit as my boss the owner treats me horrible and makes inappropriate comments like asking me to wear low cut shirts, one day when I was in a bad mood he told me he knows how to relieve tension but his wife would not approve. I have spoken to my manager but since this is the owner nothing has changed, will I qualify for unemployment?

    • It will be difficult. Expect you will need to appeal, which means no benefits for at least two months. No interviewer will grant benefits because you are accusing your employer of sexual harassment. You have a better chance to have your side heard at appeal. With any luck at all, employer will be a no-show, you will get benefits by default.

  • Andrea

    Anyone know if you can receive unemployment in Washington state due to time off for a medical matter? I will not be able to walk for 3 months. My job will still be there after that. Thanks.


    I have been unemployed for 15 months. I could not collect unemployment because i left my work due to my wife medical condition. I live in Washington state and I am an aerospace engineer.
    My question is: Am i qualified to take solid/Catia/Patran/Nastran courses paid by state. If yes, do I receive any help from state while i am taking these courses.?

    Than you,


  • My name is James Nana Nyarko from wast African Ghana, I hold dipolman in computer engineering. I have work us a shop manager for good three years. The company am in now is turning out and I need a new job

  • Clive

    My wife is moving her business from Washington state to Tennessee. if I quit my job to go with her will I be able to claim unemployment benefits?

    • Yes. WA state says this:

      You moved to be with your spouse or domestic partner whose job is outside your labor market area.

      Generally, the states view preservation of the family unit as primary which is why 50% of them provide trailing spouse benefits, albeit only half of those for military transfers only. WA allows trailing spouse for all. Her moving her business should be qualifying. By all means, apply.

  • francisco

    i am moving to the washington state area of vancouver from california sonoma county and my job which there are stores there but no openings will not transfer me and california unemployment says i need to contact Washington unemployment but the requirement is that my job needs to be out there i meet all other requirements … can someone help???

  • Juniper B

    I told my employer (in confidence) that a recently fired employee would go on Facebook when they should’ve been working and my employer put the following in their initial response to the employee’s unemployment claim, “I was told by my other employee that [the former employee] would go on Facebook during working hours.Though this was not the MAIN there were many other reasons the employer cited for firing the employee it was still used. I’m worried this employee will see this report. If they do, they will know I was the person who said this because I am the only other employee working there. I know I shouldn’t have said anything and now I REALLY regret saying that because I genuinely like this person and don’t want them to know I said that! I’m so upset and sick over this. I was really hoping someone could tell me if this person will find out what I said or not!!!

    • Yes, the employee will know about this assertion. WA state will interview the employee and ask that employee about the FB postings and any other allegations made by the employer. Further, should there be an appeal, employee is entitled to view their entire unemployment claim file and know exactly what employer said to WA.

  • John Buy

    I am ex-Military Honorable and have been drawing unemployment benefits for 26 weeks I need to either do training for a new job or self employment, ai a new company which I started in Portland, OR. the military will pay for school classes etc… how do I get an extension for benefits while going to self employment or school training, Can someone please help this vet Get it right.. And the new Job school and Self employment is out of state on Portland,, Please help this vet…Thanks

  • Jan stock

    I have had to quit my job as a dental hygienist after 35 years. My Dr. Has disabled me. I have filed for SS disability. I need to know if in WA state I can file for un employment due to disability until my SS is approved. I have heard conflicting things and I don’t want to jeopardize my SS disability claim
    Thank you

    • Unemployment benefits are paid to people who Able and Available – that means able to search for and accept full-time work if offered. Unemployment benefits are never paid to those who are unable to work. If you quit for medical reasons and are awaiting disability approval, your doctor will have to state you are fit for work before WA will open a claim for you.

  • Kami

    Had not heard or received response and been filing claim for 5 weeks. Thismwill be second time filing claim cause was denied first time my doctor not released me to work cause hypertension. Was released to go back to work and opened the claim. What can I do more to receive answers and response.

  • I have asked for a transfer to a different location several times from my job. They keep saying yes they will do that, but only when others are hired and trained for my position. This has gone on for months, and they still haven’t hired anyone. How do I rectify this situation. If i quit with a notice then they may not hire me back or the position may be taken since I’d have to wait 30 days to be rehired. I love my job but I just want another location within the same market. There are openings. Others have transfered from my store to other stores without any problem, and they didn’t have to wait for a replacement or train a replacement. Quitting would also leave me high and dry as far as unemployment. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • Charles Hoffert

    I have had great difficulties dealing with E.S.D and it’s affiliates through out this year. I hope to have my cases and issues with this State agency made public and printed with my local paper and other news media..I’ll see em in court again shortly. This time with an attorney..

  • Brandon wright

    I have also been calling I desperately need to reopen my claim and I can not do that due to issues that can not be solved with the friendly online unemployment site.

  • Lisa Par

    I am needing help with a weekly claim and decision regarding benefits. I have been calling the phone number that is “staffed” 8-5 daily and can’t get through. I have tried the emergency number also and it won’t go through.

  • I need some help with a recent decision on a phone hearing I had. Unemployment said to contact ofc of special investigations can someone please help me get some answers thank you

    • Friend

      It’s probably a scam someone is pulling on you. Let them come check you out is the only way to know if you do really owe them. Scammers have everyone’s information and they pick what is best to work. Using the government would wirk the best would you not think so. If you did everything you did as to how to get benefits then they should have all that in the computers. I once was sent a paper saying I was over paid on my child support to me because I am a single parent… I was to pay them by sending a check or face the issues the way the business would have to go about doing I recall. So I ignored it and nothing happened. Remember scammers are good at trying to scare people… Take no thought the truth will set you free and if you were truthful then take no thought and God will take are of you.

  • I recently had a phone hearing in regards to benefits overpayment. It was determined I was not in fraud status.
    I have called Washington State unemployment to get some help with what I need to do and they said I need to contact office of

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