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Common mistakes while filing for unemployment in Washington state

People filing for unemployment benefits are making small but crucial mistakes that are preventing them from being paid.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Small mistakes while filing for unemployment can cost you critical time when it comes to getting benefits. 

The No. 1 thing Washington state residents are doing wrong is not filing a claim each week

After applying for unemployment benefits, you must submit a weekly claim the next week in order to begin receiving those benefits. You must then submit a claim each week until you want to end those benefits. To learn more about weekly claims and what questions will be asked, visit the Employment Security Department's website.

Another common mistake while filing for unemployment is answering questions incorrectly either because applicants misunderstand the question or they are clicking the wrong box, because ESD's website is slow due to high traffic volumes.

One common question causing confusion that people may answer incorrectly: Are you receiving retirement benefits from your employer? 

That question is asking if you're getting a weekly retirement benefit from your employer not whether you have a 401(k).

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Another source of confusion is the question surrounding citizenship. You do not have to prove your citizenship to receive unemployment benefits. As long as you're allowed to work legally in the U.S., you qualify. 

The state says it will continue to look at common mistakes to help navigate the process.

ESD is preparing for as many as one million weekly unemployment claims to be filed online or via automated phone system starting April 26. 

Consider these tips when applying for benefits: 

  • Sunday and Monday are the busiest days, and the department would like to prioritize weekly claims filing on those days for those who need the benefit most. Doing so will lighten the load and speed up the process for everyone.
  • Weekly claims can be filed over multiple days and at all hours. Both the online and the phone application systems are available 24/7.

RELATED: Tips for filing unemployment claims in Washington amid coronavirus crisis

Do you have a question or concern about money during the coronavirus pandemic? Email us at money@king5.com.