Questions we ask when you apply by phone

Here are all of the questions and prompts you may hear when you apply for benefits by phone.


Initial introduction and instruction

Answer all questions truthfully. Failure to provide accurate information could result in errors on your claim.

You will hear an introduction and with some valuable information. Please listen to all of it so you can make sure the choice you make is correct.

  1. Welcome to the Washington Unemployment Claims Center and Automated Claims Line. Our menu has changed, please listen carefully.
    • For English, Press 1 now (you will go to step 2)
    • 2-Spanish
    • 3-Vietnamese
    • 4-Russian
    • 5-Korean
    • 6-For all other languages
  2. You will be asked to enter your Social Security number (SSN). Enter it by using the numbers on the touchpad of your phone. You will need to confirm your SSN.
    • Press 1 if correct
    • Press 9 to re-enter
  3. To open a new claim or to reopen an existing claim, press 2.
  4. If you have a question about unemployment insurance, press 7.


To complete your application using the Automated Claims Line, you will need the following information:

  • The business names and complete mailing addresses of all your employers for the last two years and the dates of employment.
  • If you are not a US citizen, please have your alien identification number ready.
  • If you do not have this needed information, we may be unable to complete your application and we may ask you to call back later.
  • If you have a court order for your protection, please tell the claims specialist when your call is transferred.

The next set of questions
  • Enter your two-digit birth month
  • Enter your two-digit day of birth
  • Enter your four-digit birth year
  • Confirm or re-enter your information
    • Press 1 to confirm
    • Press 9 to re-enter
  • Enter your gender
    • 1-Male
    • 2-Female
  • Select your ethnic background
    • 1-Caucasian
    • 2-Black or African-American
    • 3-Hispanic
    • 4-American Indian or Alaskan Native
    • 5-Asian or Pacific Islander
    • 6-For all others or if you choose not to answer this question
  • Select your highest level of education
    • 1-Less than high school diploma or GED
    • 2-High school diploma or GED
    • 3-Technical school
    • 4-College degree
    • 5-Advanced college degree
  • In what language would you like to receive written materials?
    • 1-English
    • 2-Spanish
    • 3-Chinese
    • 4-Vietnamese
    • 5-Laotian
    • 6-Russian
    • 7-Cambodian
    • 8-Korean
    • 9-Other
  • Do you consider yourself disabled according to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990?
    • 1-Yes
    • 2-No
    • 3-Do not wish to disclose this information
  • Beginning with your area code, please enter a 10-digit telephone number where we can contact you.
    • If you do not have a phone number, press the pound (#) sign.
    • You entered xxx-xxx-xxx
      • If this correct, press 1, if not, press 9.
  • Answer the next set of questions by entering:
    • 1-Yes
    • 9-No
  • If we have a question about your claim, do we have your permission to leave a detailed message at the phone number you provided?
  • If we have a question about your claim, may we contact you by your email?
  • Unemployment benefits are taxable income. Do you want 10 percent of your benefits withheld and sent to the IRS?
  • Do you get your work through a referral union?
  • Have you applied for or are you receiving a pension?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. military?
  • Do you have a disability that is service connected? (Will ask if previous question was answered "Yes")
  • Do you have a definite return to work date within the next 4 weeks?
  • Are you immediately able to seek and accept full-time work?
  • Are you currently attending or planning to attend school or a training program?
  • Are you self-employed, work on a commission, or perform services on an exchange basis, such as trade work for rent?
  • Are you a U.S. citizen or an American National?
    • Were you legally entitled to work in the United States in the past two years?
  • We also offer Voter Registration services. If you want to register to vote or change your address on your current registration, press 1, otherwise press 9. (Asked if previous question was answered "Yes").
  • Have you applied for unemployment benefits in any state other than Washington in the last 12 months?
  • Did you work for the federal government in the last two years?
  • Were you separated from active duty in the U.S. military in the last two years?
  • Did you work in any state other than Washington in the last two years?
  • Have you applied for, or received time loss benefits, disability pay, Crime Victims Compensation, or suffered an injury or illness that lasted 3 months or longer in the last two years?

At this point you will be routed to the next available claims specialist for completion. For quality assurance, this call may be recorded.