Washington Unemployment

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Unemployment Benefits Eligibility  

General Benefits Eligibility Criteria

Employed workers are covered under the Employment Security Department. This means that your employer contributes to the Washington State Unemployment Trust Fund, which entitles you to collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits if you meet certain eligibility requirements upon becoming partially or fully unemployed.   

Work Eligibility Criteria

  • Unemployed by No Fault of Your Own (fully or partially): Circumstances that caused you to become unemployed cannot be due to misconduct, purposeful violation(s) of workplace rules or regulations, or for personal reasons. Lack of work performance will not exclude you from eligibility to collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits in the state of Washington.
  • Able to Work: You must be physically and mentally capable of performing appropriate work in a similar position to your previous occupation, or have experience to train for a viable position with reasonable expectations of employment.
  • Available to Work: You must be ready to work immediately. You are responsible to make arrangements for suitable accommodations in order to work; no personal circumstances should hold you from the ability to start working right away.
  • Actively Seeking Work: You must show a judicious effort toward obtaining fitting and suitable employment. You should be aggressive in finding gainful employment.
  • Register to Work: You must register to work with a WorkSource employment center or the nearest American Job Center, which can be located by visiting careeronestop.org or calling 877-872-5627.   

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Wages Eligibility Criteria  

In order to collect Unemployment Insurance benefits in Washington state, you must have worked at least 680 hours during your Base Year in covered employment. Your Base Year is based on 12 months (four calendar quarters) of your employment, but eligibility is dependent on your last 18 months of employment history.

Alternate Base Year: You could still be eligible for an alternate Base Year claim for Unemployment Insurance, even if you do not have the required 680 hours of work in your regular Base Year.

The Base Year for the alternate claim is the last four completed calendar quarters before the week you file your claim. You still must have 680 hours of work in the alternate base year and still meet all of the regular eligibility requirements.

Unemployment Availability Limits

You must have worked enough Base Year hours to collect benefits throughout your Benefit Year. A Benefit Year is the 52-week period you are able to claim Unemployment Insurance benefits from ESD—it begins on the Sunday of the week you made your initial application for Unemployment Insurance. The maximum time you can collect Unemployment Insurance benefits in Washington state is 26 weeks.

  • Minimum Weekly Benefit Amount: $162
  • Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount: $681  

Unemployment Extensions

Currently, there are no extensions for Unemployment Insurance Compensation Benefits in the state of Washington. The ESD may issue notice of extensions availability in times of higher than usual unemployment. This is only done when the state meets all necessary criteria under federal and state regulations.