ALERT
Affected by COVID-19?

The federal stimulus bill that extends CARES Act unemployment benefits was signed into law. Visit the COVID-19 page for the latest information. Please try not to call our Unemployment Claims Center with questions as call volume remains very high.

How and when to submit a weekly claim

(en español)

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


COVID-19 (coronavirus) update

(updated May 7, 2021)
  • Typically, you do not get paid for the first week you are eligible for unemployment benefits. This is called the waiting week. However, under the CARES Act, the federal government is reimbursing states so the first week you are eligible for unemployment insurance will now be paid. Because an emergency proclamation by the Governor expired on Dec. 28, 2020, people whose waiting weeks ended Jan. 9, 2021 or later didn’t get paid for that week. On May 7, 2021, a new rule waives the waiting week for anyone with an unpaid waiting week ending Jan. 9, 2021 or later. In the week following May 7, anyone whose waiting week was unpaid for Jan. 9, 2021 or later will get a supplemental payment for week the same way they’ve been paid for other weeks. The new rule to waive the unpaid waiting week will stay in effect until further notice.
  • Filing online will be faster than by phone. We are experiencing an extremely high call volume due to increased demand, and many customers are not able to get through.
  • Go to the "Weekly claim questions" page for tips on filing your weekly claim.

How to submit

Submit your weekly claim online for the fastest results. After logging in, you will see a message in Account alerts. Click that link and follow the directions. Learn more in the eServices User Guide.

Log in

When to submit

  • If submitting online, anytime between 12:00 a.m. on Sunday, and 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.
  • If submitting by phone, use the automated system (12 a.m. Sunday – 4 p.m. Friday, unless Friday is a holiday) or speak with a claims agent. For current claims center contact information and hours go to: https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/unemployed-workers-contact 
  • Every week you want to claim benefits. The first week is your waiting week. You must submit 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 submitting your first weekly claim the following week.

You should submit 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.

Waiting week waiver under the CARES Act

The first week you are eligible for unemployment benefits is called your waiting week. Typically, you do not get paid for your waiting week. 

However, under the CARES Act, the federal government is reimbursing states so the first week you are eligible for unemployment insurance will now be paid. Because the emergency proclamation by the Governor expired on Dec. 28, 2020, people whose waiting weeks ended Jan. 9, 2021 or later didn’t get paid for that week.

On May 7, 2021, a new rule is going into effect to waive the unpaid waiting week for anyone with a waiting week that ended Jan. 9, 2021 or later.

The new rule to waive the unpaid waiting week will stay in effect until further notice.