Unemployment

Have you been laid off or have your hours been reduced due to COVID-19?

You may be eligible for expanded unemployment benefits through the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD).

This includes people who work for tribes, tribally owned businesses, small businesses, independent contractors, artisans and musicians.

Apply online at https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/UI-one-stop or call 1-800-318-6022.

If you are denied unemployment benefits, the Unemployment Law Project (ULP) may be able to help you. Call ULP today:

  • (509) 624-9178 or toll-free at (800) 940-9178 (Spokane)
  • (206) 441-9178 or toll free at 1-888-441-9178 (Seattle)

Or, if you think you’re low-income, you can call the Northwest Justice Project’s CLEAR Hotline at 1-888-201-1014 weekdays between 9:15 am – 12:15 pm.

Tips:

  • Use the UI Checklist to help you apply for unemployment.
  • When applying, start with the website first before you call.
  • Due to an unprecedented increase in unemployment, the Employment Security Department (ESD) is very busy. Keep calling. Don’t give up.
  • Because the laws have changed and the systems to handle all the changes are still being implemented, you may be initially denied. You can appeal and a legal advocate from ULP or NJP may be able to help you.
  • Stay up-to-date by signing up for ESD’s COVID-19 action alerts.

Recent changes to Unemployment Insurance:

  • Job search requirements are optional.
  • There is no waiting week before you get benefits.
  • Although the Federal Stimulus package has passed, ESD estimates that it will take them until April 18, 2020 to get the Unemployment Assistance portion of the legislation up and running. ESD will then be able to make retroactive payments for both the weekly benefit amount owed as well as the additional $600 per week.