How and when to file a weekly claim

After you apply for unemployment benefits, you must file a weekly claim the next week in order to begin receiving benefits. Then, you must file a claim each week until you want your benefits to stop.

How to file

  • File online; or
  • Call 800-318-6022 to use the automated phone system; or
  • Persons with hearing or speaking impairments can call Washington Relay Service 711

When to file

  • If filing online, anytime between 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, and 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.
  • If filing by phone, anytime between 12:01 on Sunday, and 4 p.m. on Friday (unless Friday is a holiday).
  • Every week you want to claim benefits. The first week is your waiting week. You must file a weekly claim for this week, but you will not be paid for it.
  • If you didn't apply for unemployment benefits until near the end of a week, give us two business days to process your application before filing your first weekly claim the following week.

You should file a weekly claim every week, even if you're waiting to:

  • Find out if you qualify for benefits.
  • Have wages and hours added to your claim.
  • Appeal a denial of benefits.

Your "waiting week"

In most cases, the first weekly claim will be counted as your "waiting week." No unemployment benefits are paid for your waiting week. Then, your second and subsequent weekly claims may trigger benefit payment if you are eligible for payment. Note: If you applied for unemployment and already served a waiting week within the past year due to a previous period of unemployment; you don't have to serve another waiting week.