After you’ve received all of your regular unemployment benefits, there are two different programs you can apply for in order to extend your benefits for more weeks.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides up to 13 weeks of additional benefits
- Extended Benefits provides up to 20 additional weeks of benefits after you have used up your regular unemployment benefits and PEUC benefits.
If you are eligible for a new unemployment claim or extension in Washington, or in any other state or Canada, you are not eligible for these programs.
In order to receive these benefits, you must apply. The easiest way to apply is using eServices.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
When you’ve exhausted your regular unemployment benefits, you should first apply for PEUC.
PEUC is a federal program created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides up to 13 weeks of additional benefits to workers who:
- Have exhausted their regular UI claim with a benefit year that ended on or after the week ending July 6, 2019.
- Are able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work as directed.
- This question is about you, not the job market or employers.
- Answer yes if COVID-19 business closures are preventing you from working but you'd be able and available to work when businesses open back up.
- Have left work through no fault of their own.
PEUC benefits are payable for 13 weeks through Dec. 26, 2020. The easiest way to apply for PEUC is using eServices. Watch for this option in your account.
The Extended Benefits program is triggered by a high unemployment rate in Washington. You can only get extended benefits after your regular unemployment benefits and other extensions, like PEUC, have run out. In order to qualify, you must have a regular unemployment claim that expires May 30, 2020 or later.
How do I apply?
You will receive a letter about two weeks before your PEUC claim runs out that provides more details about Extended Benefits and prompts you to apply. The easiest way to apply is in your eServices account.
Will my weekly benefit amount change?
No. Your weekly extended benefit amount is the same as the weekly benefit amount you had for your most recent regular unemployment claim.
What’s different about extended benefits?
Extended benefits come with strict job search requirements that are different from regular unemployment job search requirements and the consequences for failing to meet these requirements are high. If you apply and qualify for extended benefits, we’ll send you new instructions for conducting your job search. PLEASE NOTE: Job search requirements are currently suspended for regular and extended unemployment benefits. When job search requirements are reinstated, you will need to comply with the stricter requirements.
How many weeks of extended benefits can I get?
Up to 20 weeks are available for qualifying claims. The U.S. Department of Labor makes the decision on how many weeks are available under this program, and we’ll notify you if that number changes or if the extended benefits program ends.
What if I’m claiming outside of Washington?
If the state you’re living in is in an extended benefits period, you can receive Washington’s extended benefits until one of the following happens:
- You run out of extended benefits.
- Two weeks after your state’s extended benefit period ends.
- Two weeks after Washington’s extended benefit period ends.
- If you live in a state that isn’t in an extended benefit period, you can only get up to two weeks of Washington’s state extended benefits. If your state later moves into an extended benefit period, you may qualify for Washington’s extended benefits again.
What kind of work is considered suitable work when I am claiming extended benefits?
More work is considered suitable when you’re claiming extended benefits, even if it’s not your usual occupation. Work is suitable if all the following apply:
- You have the skills and abilities to do it.
- The gross weekly pay is greater than your weekly benefit amount.
- It pays at least the minimum wage in your area.
You don’t have to accept work if any of the following apply:
- The position is vacant due to a labor dispute.
- The working conditions are less favorable than similar work in your labor market.
- You’d be required to join or resign from a union.
COVID-19 update: Job search requirements currently optional
Job search requirements are currently suspended for regular and extended unemployment benefits. When the requirements are reinstated, you will need to comply with the job search requirements specific to Extended Benefits (below). We will update this page when job search requirements have resumed.
Can I be on standby if I am claiming extended benefits?
Standby means you do not have to meet job search requirements while receiving unemployment benefits. Standby isn’t an option if you’re claiming extended benefits. For every week that you claim extended benefits, unless we tell you otherwise, you must look for suitable work even if you are:
- Working less than full time.
- Returning to work shortly.
- A union member.
How many job search contacts should I make each week?
If you are claiming extended benefits, you must contact at least four employers each week. Union members must also have a total of four employer contacts, three of which must be outside their union. Only employer contacts count as job search activities. WorkSource or other activities do not count as job search contacts for extended benefits. If you have a definite recall or hire date within four weeks, or you’re a full-referral union member and have an extremely favorable position on the out of work list, you need to call the claims center at 800-318-6022 to discuss options.
Do I still need to make four job search contacts if I am a registered member of a referral union?
Yes. Contacting your union and complying with the union’s requirements counts as one of your four required job search contacts each week. You’ll still need to make three more job search contacts. These need to be jobs you’re capable of doing that won’t jeopardize your union membership. If you’re willing to work in the jurisdiction of other union locals, you can register with those union locals and use each as one of your job contacts.
How do I record and report my job search contacts?
You should report your job search contacts when you submit your weekly claim. You’ll need to tell us the:
- Date of the job search contact
- Employer or union’s name
- Employer or union’s place of business
- The method of contact: In person, phone, internet, email or mail
- Name of the person you contacted or job reference number
- Position you applied for
If you file your weekly claims on eServices you can enter your job search contacts when filing your claim.
If you file your weekly claims by phone, you will have four minutes of recorded time to provide us your job search contact information.
What if I don’t meet the stricter requirements for a week that I’m claiming extended benefits?
If you don’t meet the requirements you may be considered ineligible for extended benefits for any week during which you did not have a good reason for:
- Failing to meet the job search requirements for extended benefits.
- Refusing to apply for any suitable work referred to you by WorkSource.
- Refusing an offer of work that’s considered suitable for extended benefits.
You will be ineligible to receive extended benefits until you’ve done both these things:
- Worked during at least four weeks, starting after the week you didn’t meet the job requirements.
- Earned at least four times your weekly benefit amount.
If you refuse a job that’s considered suitable for regular unemployment, we will deny benefits until you’ve done both these things:
- Worked in at least seven different weeks.
- Earned at least seven times your weekly benefit amount.