Governor signs Schmidt legislation that will clarify unemployment insurance benefits appeal procedures

On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation to clarify unemployment insurance benefits appeal procedures.

Fourth District State Rep. Suzanne Schmidt, the prime sponsor of House Bill 1656, has been working with the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) on the issue.

“The legislation makes corrections to the hearings procedures for unemployment insurance benefits. Under current law, the administrative law judge is required to review the claimant’s availability for work in every appeal, regardless of the basis for the appeal,” said Schmidt, R-Spokane Valley. “This has created confusion in the system, is inefficient and costly to the agencies. This will provide administrative efficiencies between the ESD and the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) in unemployment insurance disputes.”

The new law will:

  • remove the requirement that OAH review a claimant’s availability for work in every dispute involving a person’s unemployment insurance benefits or waiting week credits; and
  • allow all matters covered by an initial determination, determination, or redetermination on a person’s claim for unemployment insurance benefits are at issue in an appeal to the OAH, regardless of the grounds in the notice of appeal.

The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously. The measure will take effect in late July.


Washington State House Republican Communications