WA Unemployment claim filing issues continue

WASHINGTON EMPLOYMENT SECURITY — FYI: We posted the following alert to our website today. For context, we generally serve an average of 60,000 claimants each week.

UI system stabilizing, phone volume still high, sign-on system still facing some issues

 Alert: Updated 3:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 9, 2017

ESD’s unemployment benefit claims centers have received more than 49,000 weekly claims requests via phone or internet from Sunday, Jan. 8 through Monday, Jan. 9, at 3:15 p.m.  We also received nearly 1,400 new benefit applications. 

Last week, we received roughly 64,500 weekly claims requests and more than 5,100 initial benefit applications.

ESD Claims Center and IT staff worked along with WaTech staff, Washington’s consolidated technology services agency, over the weekend to answer messages, assist with claims and address outstanding IT issues.

All eligible weekly benefit claims filed last week were processed for payment. 

We have higher than normal call volumes once again today, due in part to inclement weather affecting our Spokane Claims Center. 

While the majority of customers have been able to access the system online, some customers continue to experience difficulty with the multifactor sign-on. WaTech continues to work with its vendor to correct

this service problem though calls to their service desk have dropped to normal levels.

Important Notes:

Customers having trouble using the WaTech Secure Sign-on tool should consider the following tips:

  1. If you receive the error message “Access is Denied” or “Your Account has been locked,” please try again.
  2. If you are having trouble getting past the authentication challenge via your phone, try using the email challenge instead. This process is time-sensitive so once you receive your code, please enter it immediately.

If you still are unable to sign-in and submit your claim, please reach back out to WaTech for assistance 24/7. Please note that they are still seeing high call and email volumes so you may experience longer hold times.

Phone: 888-241-7597 or Email: servicedesk@cts.wa.gov

We apologize and we are working as hard as we can around the clock to resolve these issues. Thank you so much for your patience. 


  • New claimants can apply for unemployment any time during the week with no delay in benefit payments because state law requires them to wait a week before they can file a claim for their first payment anyway.
  • Eligible claimants who were unable to file claims last week for the week ending 12/31/16 will be able to backdate their claim and will not forfeit those funds.


 Janelle Guthrie, APR | Communications Director
Washington Employment Security Department
212 Maple Park Avenue SE | Olympia, WA  98501
Ph: 360-902-9289 | Cell: 360-480-2096 |  jguthrie@esd.wa.gov


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