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.
Step 1: Eligibility | Step 2: Apply online or by phone | Step 3: After you apply | Step 4: Look for work | Step 5: File a weekly claim or reopen a claim | Additional benefit information
To use eServices, you need to:
- Sign in with a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account. If you established a SAW account for WorkSourceWA.com or another state service, you can use that same user name and password. If not, follow the instructions to create a new SAW account.
- Answer questions to verify your identity. You’ll only need to do this the first time you sign in. Don’t rush through the questions. If you answer incorrectly, the system will not recognize you. This added layer of security is designed to prevent identity thieves from accessing your account.
- Confirm the computer or mobile device you are using the first time you sign in or whenever you use a new device.
Don’t have a computer? Stop by your local library or WorkSource center to use a computer.
A confirmation page appears when you successfully submit an application.You also will receive verification by email, if you gave us your email address and permission to correspond with you.
We take applications by phone 8 a.m-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday except on holidays. If your Social Security number ends with:
- 0, 1, 2 or 3, call on Tuesday.
- 4, 5 or 6, call on Wednesday.
- 7, 8, or 9, call on Thursday.
- Anyone may call on Friday.
Note: Applying for unemployment benefits later in the week will not delay benefit payments.
- 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)
Get job-search assistance