How to file for unemployment benefits

The state Employment Security Department (ESD) recommends workers take the following four steps to help ensure their unemployment benefits are filed correctly and start quickly:

  1. Download and review the ESD eligibility checker (pdf). This will help workers determine if they are currently eligible for benefits.
  2. Download and read the application checklist (pdf) to make sure that you have what you need.
  3. A SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account is needed to file an unemployment claim. ESD recently posted a video that explains the process to be followed in order to apply for benefits. After reviewing the video, please sign up for a SAW account.

Note: When filling out your application, please re-read the instructions and check your work several times. Many issues people are having start with small errors made when filling out the form. For assistance, please visit Employment Security’s unemployment-benefits help page.