File Unemployment Insurance Claim with Washington Employment Security Department

Washington State Employment Security Department more commonly referred to as ESDWAGOV which is a real mouthful.

Please note that before you can file for unemployment benefits with ESD, you’ll need to create a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account first.

You can get a SAW account at

Here is a quick video on how to apply for Washington ESD unemployment insurance benefits.

Now that you should have a handle on creating a new SAW account, you can get a handle on what you need to file for unemployment insurance benefits.

You will need these items in order to start you application for unemployment benefits:

You need to provide Washington ESD with the following information, whether you apply for unemployment benefits online or by phone.

The online application system logs out after 15 minutes of activity, so please save frequently. The phone system will also hang up after a short period of inactivity. So please have your information ready!

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your name, birthdate and contact information (for example, mailing address, phone number and email address).
  • Your highest level of education.
  • The names and mailing addresses of all your employers during the past 18 months, including part-time and temporary jobs. (If you worked for more than 16 employers in the past 18 months, you must file your claim by phone (or persons with hearing or speaking impairments can call Washington Relay Service 711).  You can find your employment history by quarter through ESD secure online portal.
  • The dates you worked for all employers in the past 18 months. Use your best estimate if you don’t remember the exact dates. The system will not accept a future date. If you are still working, use the date you last worked before you apply for benefits.
  • If you normally get your work through a union, the name and local number of your union.
  • If you were in the military during the last 18 months, your DD-214, any member copy, 2 through 8.
  • If you were a federal employee in the past 18 months, your Standard Form 8 (SF8), “Notice To Federal Employees About Unemployment Insurance.” The Standard Form 50 (SF50), “Notice of Personnel Action” is not required, but will speed up the processing of your claim.
  • Your citizenship status. If you’re not an U.S. citizen, your work authorization information.
  • If you apply for benefits online and want to sign up for direct deposit, your account and routing numbers for your bank or credit union.

Your claim takes effect Sunday of the week you first apply, regardless of when you last worked.

Now head over too to start your unemployment application.

You will also need to certify with Washington ESD weekly that you are still unemployed, and require continued unemployment insurance benefit payments.