Employment Security Department: Changes to phones for improved service

From Employment Security Department:

As we head into the seventh month of the pandemic, we're taking some lessons learned from these past months and making changes to improve our phone service.These changes will help resolve issues and questions more quickly, getting eligible claimants their payments faster.

Starting Monday, Oct. 19, we are

  • Changing the phone hours in the unemployment claims center.
  • Scheduling call-backs for tougher issues and questions.
  • Building in more time to process claims.

New hours and more

  • 8 a.m. to noon, Monday – Friday, phones will be open for inbound calls. If we can’t answer your question right away, we will schedule a time to call you back.
  • Noon to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday, we won’t be taking calls so claims agents can process claims, make outbound calls, and resolve issues that delay payments.
  • Sunday – Tuesday are our busiest days both online and on the phones. If you can’t get through, try calling or logging on later in the week. Find more tips for contacting us on our help page.

Before you call, consider these five tips and resources

  1. Check esd.wa.gov/unemployment for answers to questions before you call the claims center. You can also ask questions in the Chatbot! Click the blue box on the right side of the page that says COVID-19 Questions, How can we help?
  2. Use eServices whenever you can. This allows you to file your weekly claim, check the status of your payment, change your address and sign up for direct deposit anytime.
  3. Is your claim pending? Before you call the claims center:
    • Check under the pending issues tab in eServices and respond to any questions we may have sent you.
    • Our staff will need time to process your answers and we’ll send you a decision letter when we’ve finished.
    • If you don’t understand the decision, that’s when you should call the claims center.
  4. If you can’t get into your SAW account, check our technical help page for solutions.
  5. People with limited English proficiency can request assistance online and those that need reasonable accommodation due to a disability can check our website for information.

Only the unemployment claims center phone hours are changing

The phone lines for the SAW help desk, the fraud reporting line, and Paid Family and Medical Leave Customer Care are not changing. Please note: The staff that answer these lines cannot help with UI claims.