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Commissioner Approved Training (CAT)

Commissioner Approved Training (CAT) allows you to collect your regular unemployment benefits while attending an approved, full-time training program. If approved for commissioner-approved training, you do not have to look for work while receiving unemployment benefits. CAT does not pay for books, tuition or school-related fees. It does not extend your benefits.


You may be eligible for CAT if you are otherwise eligible for unemployment benefits, or a dislocated worker as defined below if you:

  • Were laid off because your employer permanently reduced operations; or
  • Lost your job for a reason we allow benefits, and because there are few employment opportunities in your type of work, you are unlikely to get the same type of work again

An approved training program is a course of education which:

  • Is full time, as determined by the school or training facility;
  • Provides you with skills in an occupation for which there are reasonable job opportunities in your labor market;
  • Is not primarily intended to meet the requirements of a baccalaureate or higher degree; and
  • Is generally of short duration, as commissioner approved training does not extend your benefits. If you will run out of unemployment benefits before completing your training, you must show us that you have the financial resources to complete your training.

Applying for Commissioner Approved Training

There are several options available:

  1. Go to the nearest WorkSource Employment Center
  2. Download and print an application online
  3. Call the claims center at 800-318-6022 (Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. except holidays) and ask for a Student Eligibility Questionnaire/CAT application

Mail or fax your completed application to:

Unemployment Insurance Imaging
PO Box 19019
Olympia, WA 98507-0019
Fax: 800-301-1796

You also can drop off your completed application at the nearest WorkSource Employment Center.

Maintaining your unemployment benefits

To maintain your eligibility for unemployment benefits while in training, you must:

  • Be enrolled in a full-time training program.
  • Make satisfactory progress in the program.
  • Notify the Employment Security Department if you discontinue training, suspend training or reduce enrollment to less than full-time.

If you do not meet these requirements, you may be required to look for work and meet other job-search requirements, such as participating in job-search workshops, in order to collect benefits. You also may be required to pay back benefits you have received.