Thursday, February 5, 2009

Washington to have Unemployment hotline open on Saturdays

For thousands of Washington residents who have been frustrated with endless busy signals from the Washington Unemployment Insurance helpline, there is some hope. According to MSNBC the offices are now open 8:00am to Noon on Saturdays.

The article also listed these helpful bits of information:
A record 90,331 people applied for regular unemployment benefits in December 2008, an increase of about 75 percent over December 2007. Nearly 130,000 Washingtonians currently are receiving unemployment benefits, about 92 percent more than a year ago.

Lee said there are some things claimants can do to avoid delays and reduce the number of phone calls:

1) File your initial unemployment claim online Most people with employment only in Washington within the past two years should be able to use this method.

2) When calling the hotline (800-318-6022), use a landline rather than a cell phone, because there will usually be a wait time that could use up cell-phone minutes. And don't hang up and redial, because it puts the caller back at the end of the line.

3) Provide complete and accurate information in your application, including your Social Security number; the name and address of all of your employers during the last two years, regardless of how long you worked there; the dates you worked for all of your employers during the last two years; and the reason you became unemployed.

4) File weekly claims on Monday through Thursday, avoiding the Sunday rush that sometimes clogs the automated phone system. Weekly claims also may be filed online at for most individuals who have had only one employer in the past two years.

5) Use the automated features on the phone system (800-318-6022) on Monday through Thursday evenings for many routine matters, after the "live" calls are done for the day. Claimants can file a weekly claim (option 1), reopen an existing claim (option 2), find out if their check was processed (option 3), provide an address change (option 4), and obtain information about a benefit overpayment (option 6) without speaking to a live agent.

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