We provide self-help material for a variety of issues concerning Unemployment Benefits.  Click the headings below to generate our self-help documents.

UI Appeal Letter

If you have received a letter in the mail from the ESD called a “Determination Notice, ” you have thirty days to file an appeal.  Click the heading above for an appeal template.  Usually it is best to keep it simple and say, “I disagree with this decision (specify which one if you have more than one denial letter) and I want a hearing.”

How to Represent Yourself

If you have filed the appeal discussed above, you should get notice of a hearing date.  Many people succeed in representing themselves at these hearings. Upwards of 90% of claimants represent themselves for these hearings.  Click the heading above to get information on what to expect at the hearing and how to represent yourself.

PFR to Commissioner

If you have  had a hearing and lost, you still have an opportunity to write a “petition for review” to the ESD’s Commissioner’s Review Office, which is basically a letter no longer than five pages explaining why you should be allowed benefits and why you think the hearing decision was wrong.  Sometimes it helps to use relevant case law and statutes to strengthen your case. The easiest way to find the statutes, regulations, and cases (“the law”) regarding unemployment benefits in Washington is to go to the ESD’s website and find the link to Laws & Regulations. Once you have an idea of what you want to argue, click on the heading above for a document about how to write a “petition for review” to the Commissioner.

CAT info

Are you thinking about going back to school or a vocational institute to strengthen your skill set for the work place?  It’s possible that you might be eligible for Commissioner Approved Training.  Click the heading above to learn more and see if you are eligible.

How to file in Superior Court

So you’ve done the whole hearing and petition for review process, and unfortunately you still were denied benefits.  You can appeal this denial to the Superior Court in your county.   You have thirty days to file and serve your paperwork.  It is going to take several months before you get an in person hearing- remember, you are now challenging the Employment Security Department- and not your employer.  In the interim, the majority of clients obtain representation for this issue.  If the claimant wins at this level, the claimant can receive attorney fees.  Sometimes this is enough incentive for an attorney to represent a claimant at low-cost or pro-bono.  Visit or your county bar association to find an attorney that may be able to assist you.  Otherwise, click the heading above for instructions about filing an appeal in Superior Court.

Here is a word document of the Petition for Review that you may use.