Basic eligibility requirements

Unemployment benefits partially replace your regular earnings and help you meet expenses while you look for another job. It is not based on financial need.


If you did not work in Washington state

You cannot apply for unemployment benefits in Washington or file weekly claims here if you did not work in this state during the past 18 months. The only exceptions are if you were in the military or worked for the federal government.

You must file your claim with one of the state(s) where you worked in the last 18 months. Contact each state where you worked to find out your claim options for those states.


If you did work in Washington state or were discharged from the military

To determine if you are eligible for unemployment benefits we examine:

1. Whether you worked enough hours in your base year:

  • You must have worked at least 680 hours in your base year.
  • At least some wages must have been earned in Washington, unless you recently left the military and are currently located in Washington state.


2. The reason you're unemployed or not working full time. We'll consider whether you:


3. Your availability for work for the weeks you claim.


See: You were injured or corporate officers for questions about your eligibility if those apply to you.