HR Operations

Unemployment FAQs

July 13, 2023

Applying for unemployment

What is the application process for unemployment benefits?
The fastest way to apply is online through ESD’s unemployment page. This is also were you will find the most current information needed to apply for benefits.

What information do I need to apply for unemployment?

  • A SecureAccess Washington username and password. Visit to create and activate an account
  • Your name, Social Security number, birthdate, and contact information
  • Your complete work history for the past 18 months including employer name(s), address(es), Federal Identification Number and Employment Security Reference Number:
    • UW employees (including UWMC Montlake, UWMC Northwest, and UW Medicine Primary Care):
      University of Washington
      Payroll-Box 359555
      Seattle, WA 98105-0001
      Federal tax ID 91-6001537
      Employment Security Reference Number 000990180003
    • Harborview employees:
      Harborview Medical Center
      University of WA-HMC
      Box 359555
      Seattle, WA 98195-0001
      Federal tax ID 91-6001537
      Employment Security Reference Number 000992172009
  • Start and end date of employment for each employer
  • Your bank account and routing number, if you want to sign up for direct deposit

What happens after an application is submitted?
ESD reviews your application to see if it meets the work history and other basic eligibility requirements. Then ESD sends hard copy notification letters to applicants and to the UW. The letters include the information submitted by the applicant when making a claim for unemployment. The Payroll Office provides wage and hour information if needed. UW Human Resources (UWHR) staff supporting campus, the medical centers, and faculty and academic staff review ESD notification letters.

How does UW review ESD notification letters?
UW verifies hours worked and wage information and if there is any mismatch between the information provided to ESD and the information UW has in its records, UW corrects the information and sends it back to ESD. ESD may follow-up as needed to further verify information submitted as part of a claim.

After I apply for and start receiving unemployment compensation, what is needed to continue to receive unemployment compensation?
ESD describes what is needed after applying for unemployment compensation on their Unemployment page and in their Unemployed Worker Handbook. Eligibility for unemployment is determined by ESD. You should respond to requests for information sent to you through eServices..

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Temporary layoffs and furloughs seem to have different meanings for ESD and UW. What’s the difference?
ESD considers furloughs a form of temporary layoff that may consist of a complete stoppage of work or reduced work hours for a specific period. At UW, temporary layoffs are either a reduction in FTE or a furlough (an unpaid leave/work stoppage). The UW’s terminology comes from state civil service rules and is terminology consistent with other public higher education institutions and agencies in Washington State.

When a furloughed employee applies for unemployment compensation with ESD, how do they indicate they have been furloughed?
ESD’s application for unemployment compensation requires you to choose a reason why you are separated from work. Furlough is not a listed option. Instead, for the question “Why did you separate from this employer?” select “Laid off” and for the follow-up question, “Choose more information about this separation” select “Other reason not listed.”

How do earnings affect weekly benefit amounts?
You report earnings in your weekly claim. ESD’s week is Sunday through Saturday. If you receive pay from the UW such as wages or paid time off (e.g., holiday pay, hours worked, or other paid time off), their unemployment compensation claim is reduced. The formula for the earnings offset is (Gross Weekly Wage minus $5) times 75%. When the earnings deduction is equal to or more than the weekly benefit, you are not eligible for benefit payments.

Since unemployment benefits are determined on a weekly basis, full-time workers whose hours of work are reduced by one workday each week usually will not be eligible for partial unemployment benefits because they earn too much in the week to be eligible.

This table shows two examples of the how weekly earnings affect weekly benefits for an eligible individual. For more detail visit

Effect of weekly earnings on weekly UC benefits:
This assumes in the base year the sum of gross wages for the two highest quarters was $24,000

Example 1:
Working 75% of normal
Example 2:
Working 50% of normal
Regular Monthly gross $4,000 $4,000
Weekly gross $750 $500
Estimated Weekly Benefit Amount $462 $462
Estimated Earnings Deduction $559 $371
Eligible for unemployment? No, because the Estimated Earnings Deduction is greater than the Weekly Benefit Amount. Yes, because the Estimated Earnings Deduction is less than the Weekly Benefit Amount.
Adjusted Weekly Benefit Amount N/A $91

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