Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is available to workers laid off through no fault of their own – typically due to a “lack of work.” Workers with a qualifying layoff are required to have at least 680 hours of covered employment in their “base year” and have wages in Washington to draw UI from this state.

A claim is open for a 52 week period. If drawing full benefits on a weekly basis, benefits are available for 26 weeks if collected in full. If a worker draws reduced benefits during their claim (i.e., works part time or doesn’t claim a week because they’re unavailable for work) benefits are collected until total eligible funds are depleted.

If receiving UI benefits, a person must be able, available and actively seeking work. Unless the job seeker is in a full referral union and on the union’s out of work list or is in approved training, there are minimum weekly job search requirements.

To open a claim, file for weekly benefits or get more information:

There is no longer an Unemployment Insurance office. All claims are processed through telecenters in Seattle and Spokane. There is no charge to file a UI claim.

It’s important to note that UI does not send junk mail so be sure to review, respond and/or file all correspondence from the Employment Security Department. A job seeker also has the right to appeal any decision by UI if they feel it is made in error or misjudgment.