COVID-19: Unemployment Insurance Tips for Getting Started on Your Application

We have been hearing from caregivers across the state who are losing hours due to COVID-19. If you have lost hours because of this outbreak, you are not alone. You are eligible for Unemployment Insurance.

If you have lost hours, it’s important that you apply for Unemployment Insurance as soon as you can. If you’ve experienced issues while applying for Unemployment Insurance, you can contact our Member Resource Center (available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at 1.866.371.3200 or mrc@seiu775.org). We have trained representatives who can help walk you through the process.

You should go to secure.esd.wa.gov/home start your application.

 Here are some tips to help get you started:

Collect all the information you need for the application before calling. The application asks for a lot of information and getting everything together before you call will help! You’ll need:

  • Your personal identifying information, including: name, birthdate, mailing address, phone number, email address, social security number, citizenship status (and work authorization information, if you’re not a U.S. citizen), your highest level of education, and your bank account and routing numbers for your bank or credit union if you want direct deposit.
  • The names, dates worked, and mailing addresses of all your employers during the past 18 months, including part-time and temporary jobs. For IPs, you’ll have to list each client as an employer with the State of Washington as the co-employer. If you don’t remember the exact dates, it’s ok to estimate. If you are still working, use the date you last worked before you apply for benefits. The State has reported Individual Provider hours under the name of each client, so IPs should use their client’s name and the State of Washington as co-employers, written like this:

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL & HEALTH SE PAYER FOR [CLIENT NAME]

PO Box 45842

Olympia, WA 98504-5842

Apply! You can apply online in English or in Spanish. You can apply over the phone using any language at 800-318-6022 (Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. except holidays). There are currently very long wait times for phone applications.

  • If you’re applying online, go to secure.esd.wa.gov/home/ and to set up an account with Secure Access Washington. From there, you can walk through the application.
  • For IPs: Due to how IPOne submits vacation hours and hours worked for clients, we recommend downloading, filling out, and submitting this form as soon as possible after you file your Unemployment Insurance application. This letter clarifies the employer situation for the purposes of your unemployment benefits application. You can upload it by logging into your eServices account (fastest option), or you can fax it to ESD at (800) 301-1796. If you have questions about this form, please contact the MRC.

File! File! File! You only get checks for the weeks you file. You should file weekly claims while you wait for your application to be approved, even if your application has been denied. If you’re appealing or planning to appeal your denial, you should continue filing.

  • If you’re rejected – don’t worry, appeal! The system is still updating the new emergency rules and dealing with overload. If you’re rejected, follow the instructions to appeal! And while you’re waiting – don’t forget to file weekly.
  • Are you planning on returning to caregiving or your client when this is over? Some caregivers who plan on returning to their clients at the end of the crisis have found success by selecting “standby” under “laid off” and “on call or on standby with my employer” as the reason for currently not working.

One last thing to note: right now, no one is required to look for work in order to receive unemployment benefits. This may change for recipients who do not receive approval for “standby” when the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order ends.

If you’ve run into issues while applying for Unemployment Insurance, please email mrc@seiu775.org. Our Union has trained representatives who can help you.

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