How Do I Claim Unemployment Benefits with the Washington Unemployment Insurance Claims Center?

Losing your job for any reason doesn't have to cause you grief, the Employment Services Department of Washington state has many useful resources to remove the confusion from applying for benefits. From webinars to technical support, the ESD provided many things for your review. Gathering the needed information beforehand can also smooth out the process.

Christian Allen is the editor / author responsible for this content.
Apr 28, 2020

Losing your job is never an ideal situation, especially if it's through no fault of your own. The next step would be to apply for unemployment benefits. This guide will walk you through the steps and give you some useful tips.

First, some tips

Do you meet the basic eligibility requirements?

  1. You must have been working in Washington state for the past 18 months, the only exceptions to this are those who were serving in the military or working for the federal government.
  2. What's the reason you lost your job?
  3. The Washington State Employment Security Department also looks at your availability to work for the weeks you claim.
  4. When you begin the application, you will need the following ready
    1. Your name, birthdate, social security number, and contact information.
    2. Your citizenship status, or your work authorization information if you're not a U.S. citizen.
    3. The highest level of education you achieved.
    4. The names and mailing addresses of, and dates you worked for all previous employers for the past 18 months. If you worked for more than 16 employers during the past 18 months, then you will need to apply by phone. Best estimates for work dates are fine but if you are still employed, then use the last date you worked before you applied.
    5. Those who are unionized need the name and local number of their union.
    6. Those who were federal employees anytime in the last 18 months need their Standard Form 8. Standard Form 50 is also helpful but not required.
    7. Those in the military during anytime in the last 18 months need to have any member copy of their DD-214, 2-8.
    8. Those applying online who want their benefits direct deposited need the routing number and account numbers of their bank or credit union.

Filing the Claim

  1. You can apply online at or by phone. Although another note is that at the time of this guide, our nation is going through the COVID-19 pandemic as well, so the hold times will be longer if you try to call. Applying online is faster.
  2. There is some information you will need to have ready as the application system will time out after 15 minutes for security reasons. You will also need to apply on a desktop or laptop and not a mobile device.
  3. Scroll down to the Apply Online section and click on the Apply Now button. You should see a page for eServices open, which is provided by SecureAccess Washington.
  4. The top box will ask for your username and password or you can also check to see if you have an account. There is an option to create a new account.
  5. Select the option that best fits you and follow the prompts to log in or create your account. You should then be able to move forward with your application.
  6. If you have any questions, then the ESD does have some useful help links and webinars under the apply online or by phone section, including a page dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic. They can be reached here if you still need help.

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Christian has been writing about long hold times and customer service call center experiences since 2010. He's been featured in Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe.
How Do I Claim Unemployment Benefits with the Washington Unemployment Insurance Claims Center?

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