Dear Friends and Neighbors,
While the 2020 legislative session is over and I plan on sending out a more comprehensive issue update in the near future, I wanted to share some important information about the coronavirus, or COVID-19.
We have a website that is being continually updated, here. It contains contact information, updated announcements, as well as information and guidance for both employers and employees.
This has been – and will continue to be – a difficult situation for many workers who find themselves laid off or out of a job completely. In addition, many small businesses are being hurt as the state and local economies struggle with the shutdowns and social distancing in place.
The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) is standing by to assist employers and employees impacted by the COVID-19 situation. You can visit their specific coronavirus page here. Or, if you need to apply for unemployment:
- By Phone: Call the Claims Center at 800-318-6022 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (except holidays) as follows:
- Monday: New applications for those with Social Security numbers ending in 0-3. Open for questions about weekly claims and other general questions.
- Tuesday: New applications for those with Social Security numbers ending in 0-6. Open for questions about weekly claims and other general questions.
- Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: Everyone (Social Security numbers ending in 0-9) can submit new applications. Open for questions about weekly claims and other general questions.
- Persons with hearing or speaking impairments can call Washington Relay Service 711
If you attempt to apply online, you'll need to create a Secure Access Washington account, which you can do here. There is a “pre-form” that you fill out to see if you qualify. When it comes to the question of why you are out of a job, the correct answer for this is “lack of work.” The ESD may change their form to have an option that says “direct cause from COVID-19” in the future, but for now, you would need to choose “lack of work.”
An individual still has to have worked at least 680 hours over the past year, which works out to be about 13 hours a week. If they do not have a year's history of at least 680 hours, they will not qualify for unemployment. Although, this may change in the future.
Stay safe, stay informed, stick together and help your neighbors if possible. We will get through this together.