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What to know about applying for unemployment in Washington state during coronavirus pandemic

The state's Employment Security Department has increased access to unemployment benefits, adopting a series of emergency rules to relieve some burden of layoffs.

SEATTLE — Washington state saw a dramatic increase in claims for unemployment benefits by mid-March as businesses temporarily close to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The state's Employment Security Department has increased access to unemployment benefits, adopting a series of emergency rules to relieve some burden of layoffs.

Who's eligible for unemployment? 

Workers laid off as a result of Gov. Jay Inslee's "stay-at-home" order issued on March 23. This does not apply to workers considered essential.

Do I qualify for unemployment if I'm quarantined? 

Workers who are quarantined as a result of exposure to coronavirus and are not receiving paid sick leave may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Eligibility is made on a case-by-case basis. 

People who are forced to quit because they are too ill do not qualify for unemployment benefits, but may qualify for Paid Family & Medical Leave.

Do I qualify for unemployment if my work has shut down?

Workers who are not being paid after their place of employment shut down due to coronavirus may be eligible. See basic eligibility requirements.

Those who have been laid off temporarily or had hours reduced may be eligible. 

When do I become eligible for unemployment?

Workers who qualify for unemployment benefits can be eligible the first week of their claim. Payment is issued within a few weeks of receiving a claim. 

I work at a school closed due to the pandemic. Do I qualify?

School employees can apply, but may be considered fully employed if they are being paid. Those not being paid may be eligible.

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