Unemployment Securities Department

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

As of Sunday, April 26th, workers eligible for the new pandemic unemployment assistance program filed their first claims. There is an unprecedented volume of claims expected to be received by the Employment Security Department (ESD), some workers may benefit from guidance on how to access unemployment during covid-19. I invite you to share the ESD talking points with all whom you know are affected in your network of family, friends, etc., with the websites, and social media content (below)

Additionally, for your reference, below is the email that hundreds of thousands of workers received from ESD in the last Friday / Saturday.

While these suggestions may improve workers’ chance of getting a timely benefit, far too many eligible workers are experiencing long delays in receiving unemployment benefits, by no fault of their own. As this information is shared, the continued advocacy for an effective unemployment system that provides relief to workers when they need it, continues.

Some ESD talking points

  • The money will not run out and you will not miss out. Benefits won’t run out and they will be paid retroactive to the date of eligibility.
    There is a misconception, especially since the expansion of eligibility was from the federal CARES act, that the money is going to run out and that people need to be first in line to be sure to get the money.
  • If you can wait, that’d be great. Weekly claims can be filed over multiple days and at all hours.
    There is also a misconception that weekly claims must be filed on Sunday – this is not true. Claims can be filed Sunday through Saturday night online. Plus, both the online and the phone application systems are available 24/7.
  • Calling on people’s better angels. If you do not have a dire financial situation, consider holding off until after Monday to file weekly claims – at least for now – so that others who do have deep and immediate needs can get their funds sooner. This is an exceptional ask, but we know that these are exceptional times and we need to manage this scale. Throughout this crisis, people have shown incredible heart and caring for their friends and neighbors and we’re asking people to apply that sentiment now to this situation.
  • Submit weekly claims every week to get paid every week.
  • Work search is optional. Click “no” when asked if you completed job search this week. That requirement is temporarily optional and you do not need to report your job search activities at this time.

ESD messaging and materials as of April 26, 2020

ESD email sent to hundreds of thousands of people late last week.

New to unemployment?

Don’t forget to start submitting your weekly claims – this is how you get paid.

3 tips for submitting weekly claims:

    1. You must submit weekly claims every week to get paid every week.
    2. Start submitting weekly claims the week after you apply (Sunday-Saturday), even if you are not yet approved. This will make your payments come faster.
    3. Once you submit your application for expanded benefits, or “COVID-19 PUA Claim,” you can then submit for previous weeks you were owed after you became eligible for expanded benefits.

Job search: Click “no” when asked if you completed job search this week. That requirement is temporarily optional and you do not need to report your job search activities to us at this time.

Nearly 1 million weekly claims will be filed starting Sunday: Here’s what you need to know

With the rollout of expanded COVID benefits last weekend, we expect nearly 1 million weekly claims could be filed this week, starting on Sunday. 

This is a staggering number for our system – or any system for that matter – to handle. This represents many hundreds of thousands of people trying to get into the system at once.

3 things you can do to help level traffic and file faster

    1. This is a big ask, but it will help a neighbor in need: If you can afford to wait a couple extra days to get paid, please file after Monday. This will allow those who need the benefit most to file and get paid first.
    2. You can file online and by phone 24/7. Traffic is lowest late at night to early in the morning (11 p.m. to 6 a.m.).
    3. Submit your weekly claim via automated phone system – best after 6 p.m. (800-318-6022)
    • Note: You cannot file backdated claims via phone – please use your online account if you need to file more than one week at a time.

Challenges for existing unemployment filers after roll-out

We updated our system to expand benefits to hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians Saturday night, but many of you may have noticed some changes of your own.

Some are confusing, but they won’t affect your weekly claims. Others caused issues that disrupted your ability to file and we are so sorry for that, and the frustration and anxiety this caused. We have already fixed some of these issues and are working quickly to resolve all of them.

Frequently asked questions from current filers

Q: I usually get my payment in a couple of days, but it was late or still hasn’t arrived. Where is it?

A: Because of the volume of new weekly claims submitted after the benefit was expanded, payment processing is taking longer than usual. The payments are coming; they are just taking a bit longer. Unfortunately, we anticipate this to be the case at least for the next few weeks as there are historic levels of Washingtonians filing for unemployment during this crisis.

Q: I haven’t seen my $600 additional payment yet. Where is it?

A: If you receive weekly unemployment benefits, you will now receive an additional $600 per week under the federal CARES Act’s expanded benefits. This comes automatically with your weekly claim (there is no need to apply for it separately), but it is a separate payment from your normal unemployment benefit. That means you will see two payments each week. Because payments are taking longer than usual to process due to the volume, there may be a gap between them. They are coming and we apologize for the delay.

Q: I was having no trouble submitting weekly claims before and now I am. What do I do?

A: First, if you haven’t gone into your eServices account in a couple of days, start there. We have made several fixes to errors and you may now be able to submit your weekly claim as normal.

    • If something went wrong and you can’t file anymore. For example, it says your unemployment claim is now “inactive” – we are so sorry and we are working as quickly to resolve it. If you are in this situation, please keep checking in your eServices account and make sure you have submitted any active weekly claims (whether it is unemployment, PUA or PEUC).
    • If you have multiple active claims open. If you applied for one of the new programs (“PUA” or “PEUC”) because you were prompted to, and now have multiple active claims open, please submit weekly claims for all active weeks you now have available.
      • Just click on each link on your homepage that says “You have a UI weekly claim to file” or “You have a PUA weekly claim to file” etc.
      • Submit all active weekly claims.

Depending on your personal situation and work history there are many reasons this could be the case for you.

Q: Why am I getting letters that tell me different information than the website?A: Because of the COVID-19 crisis, requirements to look for work, request standby, and attend some WorkSource appointments have been temporarily suspended. Our automated letters haven’t been changed yet. You don’t have to worry about work search and standby letters, or RESEA appointment letters after April 17. Make sure to read and follow the instructions on all other letters you get.

Learn more on our website



Thank you. 
– Shahraim

Shahraim C. Allen

Chairperson / Legislative Director
Washington State Legislative Board
Legislative Representative, Division 238, Tacoma, WA
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen
International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Rail Conference 
Teamsters 313 Building          
220 South 27th Street

Tacoma, WA 98402 

253-961-1021 – cell


Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen – Washington State Legislative Board, IBT-Rail Conference: Division 238, Tacoma-Auburn-Centralia, WA / Division 518, Seattle-Everett-Bellingham, WA / Division 892, Tukwila-Seattle, WA / Division 60, Seattle-Spokane, WA / Division 104, Spokane, WA / Division 443, Spokane, WA / Division 402, Pasco-Kennewick, WA / Division 58, Wishram, WA / Division 758, Vancouver, WA 

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