Collecting Washington Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Collecting unemployment benefits is something we all hope to never have to learn about firsthand. There may come a time when the benefits of unemployment filing can mean the difference between paying the mortgage or falling behind. If you live in Washington State, you’ll find the process for filing a claim is actually quite simple, especially if you have internet access.

The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) is accessible at http://www.esd.wa.gov/index.php. The application for unemployment benefits is very straightforward and simple. You will need to have all of your work history for the past two years. This includes employer name, address, phone, dates worked and salary. If you want to sign up for direct deposit you will also need your bank account and routing number.

If you would prefer to apply over the phone, you can contact the ESD call center at 1-800-318-6022. Their offices are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

It is important to apply for unemployment insurance as soon as you are unemployed. There is a one week waiting period where you are ineligible for benefits before you can start collecting a regular weekly check.

Once your initial application is filed, you will receive a "Welcome Packet" in the mail with complete filing instructions. You can begin filing on the first Sunday after you apply and you must file every week that you want to claim benefits.

The most important thing to know when you file for unemployment insurance is that you will need to search for jobs and keep a detailed log of those searches. Washington ESD can ask for your job search log at any time to verify that you have been actively seeking work, which is their first requirement for collecting unemployment. Your benefits can be revoked if you don't provide the log when they request it.

Filing the weekly claim is very simple. You will be asked a series of questions about your income for the week. If you are collecting income from any source, it needs to be reported on this claim. Your claim will not be denied, but your earnings will be reduced in proportion to the income you claim. Be particularly thorough when reporting income from any other state agency; most state offices are linked and income is reported internally.

One of the main benefits of unemployment payments is that they allow you to focus your efforts on finding a new job while worrying less about paying bills. In Washington State, the simple filing process helps make unemployment claims easier and helps eliminate some of the stress from a very stressful time.

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