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Furloughed, unemployed and reduced-hours workers, sole proprietors – should you apply for benefits? When? How? We’ve got answers

Here is the latest information from the Washington Employment Security Department:

1. Find out what you’re eligible for.  

Visit esd.wa.gov/unemployment and download the eligibility checker. Eligible for regular unemployment insurance (UI)? Apply as soon as possible! Before you apply, go to esd.wa.gov/unemployment, and: 

Can’t get regular UI? You might be eligible for expanded benefits under the federal CARES Act.  

Wait to apply until after April 18. Stay tuned for next steps about how to get ready and what you’ll need.  You can still set up your account any time though – see the next step below.


2. Set up your Secure Access Washington (SAW) account. 

If you’re planning to apply for regular or expanded benefits, you’ll need a SAW account. We know it’s not the most intuitive thing. That’s why we made this 9-minute video to save you a lot of time.  

Especially if there’s a chance you may already have a SAW account. That can cause issues that are tricky to fix down the road.  


3. Last but not least, that $600. 

Everyone receiving a weekly UI benefit will get the additional $600 included in the federal CARES act.  

  • Full-time workers.  
  • Part-time workers.
  • Those already on UI.
  • Those who are eligible for expanded benefits under the CARES Act.
  • $600 payments are retroactive to March 29. 
  • You do not need to request it. The additional $600 will be added to your benefit after our system is updated on April 18.
  • There is one exception: People who receive in-training benefits won’t get it.)  

4. There’s always something new to learn on the COVID-19 page

Take a look at the worker Q&A on our COVID-19 webpage. We’re updating it with new information on the federal stimulus legislation.