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News / Business

If you quit a job in WA, you can still get unemployment benefits under these conditions

By Rosemary Montalvo, The News Tribune
Published: May 20, 2024, 7:41am

Typically, if you quit your job, you are more than likely ineligible to apply for any benefits including unemployment, but there are some exceptions to this rule in Washington.

Unemployment benefits are intended to provide you with temporary income when you lose your job through no fault of your own, but according to Washington State law, a person is eligible to apply for unemployment benefits if they voluntarily quit their job with good cause.

The National Employment Law Project defines good cause quitting as voluntarily leaving a job for a reason that is reasonable and compelling.

What is good cause quitting in Washington?

You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if the WA State Employment Security Department decides that you quit for the following good cause reasons:

  • You quit your job to take another legitimate job offer that falls through
  • Medical reason such as illness or disability
  • Your pay or hours of work were reduced by at least 25%
  • Commute to a new job location is longer or harder
  • To care for a family member that is sick or disabled
  • To relocate with your spouse or domestic partner
  • To protect yourself or immediate family from domestic violence or stalking
  • Your employer failed to fix a safety problem
  • Your employer failed to stop illegal activity
  • Your employer gives you work that goes against religious or moral beliefs.
  • You are part of an approved apprenticeship
  • You started approved training under the Trade Act

How to apply for unemployment in Washington

The easiest way to apply for unemployment in the state of Washington is to apply online or by phone by calling 800-318-6022.

Before applying, a claimant should establish eligibility for unemployment benefits. Those who are unsure are still encouraged to apply and to complete the application to best of their ability.

There are also a few documents and information that applicants must have on hand in order to complete the application.

The following information is needed, whether you apply for unemployment benefits online or by phone, according to WAESD:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your name exactly as it is shown on your identification document and birth date
  • Your citizenship status or work authorization information if you are not a U.S. citizen
  • Your Washington State Driver’s license or ID
  • Your contact information
  • The names and mailing addresses of all your employers during the past 18 months, including part-time and temporary jobs
  • The dates you worked for all employers in the past 18 months
  • Your DD-214, if you were in the military during the last 18 months
  • If you were a federal employee in the past 18 months, your Standard Form 8 (SF8)
  • If you normally get your work through a union, the name and local number of your union
  • Your account and routing numbers for your bank or credit union if you want to sign up for direct deposit

After applying, WAESD will notify you if your application is approved. Once approved, you will be required to submit weekly claims. As long as you’re receiving unemployment benefits, you will also be required to look for work and document your search.