Who Qualifies for Unemployment Benefits in Washington?
As mentioned above, unemployment insurance eligibility in Washington is determined using specific standards. If you wish to receive unemployment benefits, you must meet the following criteria.
• Worked in the state for the last 18 months (exception for military service).
• Accumulated at least 680 work hours during the most recent base year.
• Earned some of your wages in the state of Washington.
If a candidate just recently moved to Washington, or if a candidate worked in another state over the last 18 months, he or she will need to file an unemployment claim in the state where he or she was employed. The qualifications for unemployment may vary in other states.
Additional Unemployment Eligibility Requirements in Washington State
Aside from the Washington qualifications for unemployment listed above, the state will consider other factors when reviewing your application. The following factors will more than likely have a bearing on your eligibility for EDD benefits.
• Your current involvement in labor disputes.
• The reason you left your previous job.
• Military discharge status.
• Availability to work.
• Present work schedule.
When determining your eligibility for unemployment in WA, the reviewer of your application will be strongly interested in the circumstances of your unemployment, and you will need to explain why you were fired, terminated or laid off. If you are on a leave of absence from work, you may or may not meet the qualifications for unemployment, as set forth by the government and state.
Unemployment insurance benefits are generally reserved for a former worker who has lost a job through no fault of his or her own. Unemployment insurance eligibility stipulates that if a petitioner’s termination was conduct or performance-related, he or she would probably be ineligible for benefits. The state of Washington will classify you as “laid off” if your employer has no intention of replacing you with another worker, and “fired” if your employer intends to replace you.
Employee Conduct and Washington State Unemployment
When deciding who qualifies for unemployment in Washington, the state will examine the conduct of each applicant thoroughly. For example, if a candidate was fired because he or she lacked the skills needed to do the job for which he or she was hired, the candidate may still be able to receive benefits. However, if the applicant was terminated for any of the reasons below, the state will classify him or her as having been “fired.”
• Failing to follow rules, procedures, or regulations
• Attendance issues
• Engaging in inappropriate behavior or violating company behavior policy
• Disregarding the safety of others
• Marked decline in the quality of work
• Violating a collective bargaining agreement
Any conduct that is considered “criminal” or shows “open disregard” for fellow workers is classified as “gross” misconduct by the Washington State Employment Security Department. A petitioner will not meet the WA unemployment insurance eligibility standards immediately if he or she engaged in this type of behavior. If a candidate was fired or suspended for gross misconduct, he or she must earn at least 10 times the amount that he or she would normally receive in weekly unemployment benefits. Benefits will be forfeit for a period of 10 weeks. If an applicant has been fired for gross misconduct while working and receiving unemployment insurance coverage, he or she will no longer meet the Washington unemployment insurance eligibility criteria.
Applying for Washington State Unemployment After an Injury
If you meet the Washington qualifications for unemployment, you must remain available to work as long as you receive benefits. This means that you must be healthy enough to work, so if you become ill or are injured while receiving benefits, you will not receive compensation until you recover. If you are injured, and you have not yet filed for unemployment, you will need to contact the Department of Labor about filing for workers’ compensation. You only need to do this is you when you are injured on the job.
Your eligibility for EDD in WA State may be only slightly impacted if you are injured outside of work. If you sustain an injury that prevents you from working for at least 13 weeks (consecutive), you will need to provide the Washington State Employment Security Department with a note from a physician. The note should include basic information about your illness or injury, as well as the date you were released.