Program Contact Information

In order to establish your unemployment claim, please visit Washington State Employment Security website at:

If you have questions, please call:


Persons with hearing or speaking impairments can call Washington Relay Service 711

For more information, please visit the website at: 

Washington Unemployment Insurance 

Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own that meet Washington's eligibility requirements.

What are unemployment benefits?

Unemployment benefits are made available through taxes paid by your former employer(s) to partially replace your regular earnings and help you meet expenses while you look for another job. These benefits are intended to assist workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are not based on financial need. While receiving benefits, it’s your responsibility to get back to work as quickly as you can.

Orient yourself with the online services provided by visiting the UI customer service one-stop page.

How to apply for unemployment benefits

The fastest way to apply for benefits is online.  While you can file by phone, you should expect extended wait times. There are no in-person unemployment offices in Washington state. Even if you go to a WorkSource office, you will still be directed to apply for unemployment benefits online or by phone. These steps will help guide you through the process.

General Program Requirements

In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must have worked at least 680 hours in covered employment, at least some of which must have been earned in Washington State, during the past 12 to 18 months. You must also be able to work and be available for work each week that you are collecting benefits. In most cases, you must make a minimum of three job search contacts each week you claim benefits.

After you apply

Read your Statement of Benefits, Wages & Hours and let us know immediately if you find errors.

Important: Read the Handbook for unemployed workers (PDF, 3MB).  You're responsible for knowing the requirements and following the rules. It is available online, or you can pick up a printed copy from your nearest WorkSource center or you may request one by calling the claims center at 800-318-6022.

  • Report honestly
  • Watch for and read any information we send you. If you chose to receive information via eServices, we will send you an email notifying you when you have new information that requires your attention. This information may be time sensitive and affect your eligibility for benefits.
  • Start your job search right away and document it. (See step 4)
  • Start filing your weekly claims (See step 5)

Look for work

Unless told otherwise, you must look for a job and keep a written record of your job search efforts.  You also must respond quickly if UI ask to see these records.

Job-search requirements 

Get job-search assistance

WorkSource can help you improve your job-search skills, find your next job and plan your career path.  Read the results of a study to learn how well WorkSource works!

File a weekly claim or restart a claim

Benefit payments don't start until after you begin filing weekly claims.  File a weekly claim for the prior week.  For unemployment purposes, a week runs from Sunday through Saturday – you cannot claim for the week until it is over. 



    All of the information provided on this page and logo comes from the ESD website.

    Mail your completed application to:

    Employment Security Department
    Attn: Training Benefits/SEAP Unit
    PO Box 9046
    Olympia, WA 98507-9046

    For questions about SEAP, please call the toll-free Training Benefits/SEAP hotline at 877-600-7701.

    Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP)

    Unemployed workers can create new businesses and job opportunities for other workers through self employment.

    While participating in the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you can create a job in an occupation that interests you and stimulate the local economy. Each new business can provide employment for you and for people you hire. SEAP offers a valuable option to eligible people who wish to run their own business. This program can give you the flexibility and income opportunity unavailable through traditional employment.

    SEAP is a unique opportunity for you to enter into self-employment entrepreneurial training and receive business counseling while you collect unemployment benefits. If you qualify and enroll in an approved training program, you do not have to look for other work while in this program.

    Eligibility requirements

    To be eligible for the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you must:

    • Qualify for regular unemployment benefits.
    • Enroll in a training program that is approved by the Employment Security Department's commissioner.
    • Be identified as likely to run out of benefits or be eligible for Commissioner-Approved Training (CAT).

    Approved Training Programs

    All approved self-employment training programs include:

    • Entrepreneurial training
    • Business counseling
    • Technical assistance
    • Requirements to engage in activities relating to setting up a business and becoming self-employed.

    Application process

    To apply for the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you must:

    1. Download and complete the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) application or pick one up at your local WorkSource office.
    2. Contact a SEAP approved provider to see if you are eligible for their program. Some providers have income or other requirements that you must meet to participate in their training programs. Some training programs are available only to low-income applicants. Check the training-provider Web site (links are on the SEAP approved provider list) to review their specific eligibility requirements.
    3. Have the training provider complete and sign the Program Provider Certification section on the application.