Operation 100% - All benefits to all eligible applicants.

Goal: Unemployment benefits delivered to all Washingtonians who were impacted by COVID-19, are eligible for & want to receive them

Hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians have lost work or had hours reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Employment Security Department has paid out billions of dollars to more than half a million Washingtonians since the crisis began in early March, but many are still waiting for their claim to be processed and a payment to be made.

On May 11, Employment Security launched “Operation 100%” to get all eligible Washingtonians their benefits as quickly as possible. The baseline is set at those who have applied by May 1, 2020.

Target metrics and timing:

  • May 22, 2020 – Substantial reduction to adjudication queue
  • June 15, 2020 – Pay or resolve 100% of all claims in adjudication submitted to us by May 1, 2020
  • July 1, 2020 – Reach our typical adjudication processing time of 21 days

Benefits paid

March 8 through: May 1 May 9 May 16
Paid out (total amount): $2.14 billion $2.9 billion   $3.8 billion
To (individuals): 545,174 751,149 768,217

Weekly highlights

Week of May 18

This week 50 percent of our claims center staff shifted back to answering inbound calls on Wednesday, May 20. The remaining 50 percent continue to focus on making outbound calls to resolve pending claims and release payments to claimants who have been waiting the longest. This new schedule will continue through the end of June. At that time, we will reassess our progress on Operation 100% to determine whether we will redeploy staff to answering inbound calls.

Week of May 11

With the launch of Operation 100%, our claims center agents focused on mostly outbound calling and were able to clear 57,834 issues for customers. This is 90 percent more issues than were cleared the previous week, when the phones were at full inbound capacity. An individual may have more than one issue holding up payment of their benefits.

Week of May 16

ESD was able to bulk clear just over 30,000 issues impacting a total of 25,246 claimants. For 6,400 claimants those were the only issues holding up payment and their benefits were paid totaling an additional $11.4 million in benefits.

Progress tracker

Adjudication queue – Employment Security to take action, resolve and/or pay

Category Baseline # 5/1/2020 Current # 5/11/2020 Target # % achieved
In adjudication 57,125 48,054 0 16%
Adjudication response time 85%


100% 27%


Message from Commissioner LeVine on Operation 100%  

Glossary of terms

Adjudication – Process of reconciling a discrepancy in information the Employment Security Department has about a person’s claim for unemployment benefits. If your claim is “in adjudication,” it has one or more issues that ESD must review to determine if you are eligible to receive benefits. The issue can be as simple as the name on your claims form not matching the name on your Social-Security card.   

Adjudication response time – The percentage of issues that are resolved within 21 days of detection.

Weekly claim – The information people on unemployment are required to submit to Employment Security every week in order to be paid benefits. Required information includes the person’s earnings for the past week. ESD uses that information to decide if each person is eligible for benefits and how much to pay. People must start submitting weekly claims the first week after they apply for benefits and must continue to submit a claim each week to be paid.

Regular unemployment benefits - Temporary income for workers who lose their job through no fault of their own. The money comes from taxes paid by employers. It does not replace a worker’s total income. The Employment Security Department does not pay benefits based on financial need, but on the reason for being unemployed and how many hours worked in, roughly, the past year.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act - A federal program extending unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 crisis, beginning March 2020. The CARES Act includes three separate programs:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - Part of the federal CARES Act that expands benefits to many people who do not qualify for regular unemployment, such as the self- employed, independent contractors, freelance workers, and those who worked less than 680 hours in, roughly, the past year. Available Feb. 2 to Dec. 26, 2020. 

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - Part of the federal CARES Act that extends benefits for up to 13 weeks after regular unemployment benefits are used up. Available March 29 to Dec. 26, 2020.

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – An extra $600 per week for everyone on regular unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), except those on Training Benefits.