March 17, 2020
File for unemployment benefits as soon as you lose employment income because of COVID-19
If you or someone you know is laid off or loses income because of everything that’s going on the state says it’s important to file a claim for unemployment benefits.
There’s no slam-dunk that you’ll get approved, but new emergency rules might relieve some of the burden.
The state says it’s Employment Security Department website, esd.wa.gov, is being updated almost daily. The site links to all state resources and information about COVID-19 and has everything workers and businesses need to know about the new normal for the unemployment benefit process.
It answers key questions like:
- What if I’m asked by a medical professional or health official to quarantine even if I’m not sick?
- What if my employers goes out of business because of COVID-19?
- How do I apply?
Employment Security’s Joy Adams says take a breath – then apply for benefits.
“Take a breath. Unemployment runs on a weekly cycle. If you can’t handle it today, take a breath and wait ’til tomorrow. Just claim by the end of the week and you should be good.”
The state’s website explains the entire process. Read through the web page and follow the steps to file your claim. You’ll need to set up a secure, state e-services account that insures the state knows you are who you say your are, and you know that you are dealing privately with the state.
“Then your claim is going to be reviewed by our staff. Most people’s claims will be clean, they won’t have any issues and we’ll be able to get folks set up and payments out the door as quickly as we can,” said Adams.
The state says as a rule the average unemployment claim is approved with no issues and benefits become available shortly after the second weekly claim is filed. Sometimes claims require more research on whether you’re eligible and that could take 3 to 4 weeks.
Your benefit eligibility is based on your 12 to 18 month work history, your reason for unemployment, and a claims agent review of your situation. If you’re approved, you must file a claim every week. The state is waiving work search and training requirements for people who qualify for benefits during quarantine or isolation. New rules also give employers a brake on employment tax deadlines if COVID-19 is a factor.
The state’s job search assistance partner WorkSource can help you look for a new job. Anyone can use WorkSource services, by the way. But call first if you want to go in person.
“And our WorkSource offices have information about improving your resume, about improving your job search skills,” added Adams.
You can apply for unemployment benefits if you’re laid off and plan to resume work with your employer- is situation called standby- but take a temporary job with local grocery store that’s hiring. Incidentally, Adams says the State Employment Security Department is hiring workers too.
This information is courtesy of KOMO News