We’re all in this together.
COVID-19 has created an unprecedented demand for our services—especially unemployment benefits and Paid Family and Medical Leave.
We're working hard to serve you. We are continually building capacity in our teams and updating our technology to better serve you.
Our phones are very busy. We constantly adjust and improve our phones systems to better meet demand, but we continue to experience historic call volumes. Visit our Help page for strategies that work to get the help you need. If you have a problem that can be fixed only by phone, please keep trying throughout the day — not only when we first open. Our dedicated experts are here for you, even if they’re hard to reach right now.
On this page
Important updates - federal stimulus
On Dec. 27, 2020, the federal stimulus that changes and extends CARES Act unemployment benefits was signed into law. The Employment Security Department is working to deliver Washington’s Pandemic Relief Payment (PRP) program this week and the newly extended federal benefits, which begin the week of Jan. 3.
We’ll be updating this page with the newest info and sharing on social media. Customers should watch for directions about next steps via email and their preferred method of communication, eServices or postal mail.
For now, claimants should:
- Continue filing weekly claims. Learn more about filing a weekly PUA claim for the week ending Dec. 26.
- Watch for updates on this page and messages in eServices.
- Do not call our unemployment claims center with questions—call volume remains high.
If you absolutely must call the claims center about another issue, we encourage you to try throughout the day, and not just at 8 a.m. when we open. That’s when we receive the most calls.
(Updated Dec. 28, 2020)
Expanded unemployment benefits
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a separate benefit program that provides a financial safety net to many people who do not qualify for regular unemployment, including:
- Self-employed people
- Independent contractors
- Part-time workers (with fewer than 680 hours)
- Available Feb. 2, 2020 - March 13, 2021
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is an extension of regular unemployment benefits that is available March 29, 2020 - March 13, 2021. It provides additional weeks of benefits on top of your regular unemployment benefits. Find out more about PEUC and other benefit extension programs you may qualify for after you run out of regular unemployment benefits.
Extended Benefits (EB)
Extended Benefits (EB) provides additional weeks after you have used up your regular unemployment and PEUC benefits.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
The FPUC program adds $300 to your weekly benefits from the week ending Jan. 2 to the week ending March 13, 2021, if you are eligible for those weeks. We processed the first payment on Jan. 14 for the weeks ending Jan. 2 and Jan. 9. We will include future payments with your normal unemployment benefits until the program ends.
The Pandemic Relief Payment (PRP) Program is a one-time payment of $550 for some recipients of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. Go to the Pandemic Relief Payments page for more information.
Information for workers
For questions about how unemployment, standby, the waiting week, and more have been affected by COVID-19, please see our Q&A for workers.
Information for employers
For businesses looking for updates on how COVID-19 has impacted unemployment insurance, quarterly reporting, and more, please see our Q&A for businesses.
Lost Wages Assistance was an emergency federal measure to provide an additional $300 for six weeks in August and September 2020. Go to the Lost Wages Assistance page for more information.
- Visit the Employment Security Department's COVID-19 rulemaking page.
- Get the latest information and learn about other resources that may be available to you at Washington State’s COVID-19 website. Visit coronavirus.wa.gov.
- Get the most recent updates from Governor Jay Inslee.
- The Washington State Department of Health’s website is the place to go for the best local information about COVID-19 in Washington state.
- If you have questions or concerns related to your health, call the state Department of Health at 800-525-0127, and press #.
- The CDC website is an excellent source of information, including guidelines for businesses.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has a mythbusters website with advice for the public.
- The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) website has information about community programs and eligibility.
- The Washington Department of Financial Institutions has a list of financial resources for consumersimpacted by COVID-19.
- A comprehensive list of state resources is available on the governor's coronavirus page.