Starting Monday, the state's unemployment claims phone line will be open one hour earlier each day.
The Employment Security Department said Thursday in a news release that agents will be available 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to help unemployed workers with their benefits claims. The call centers will keep extended hours through Jan. 31.
People can reduce their wait times by:
Applying for benefits and submitting weekly claims online. Go to www.esd.wa.gov .
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Use virtual hold. Callers can choose to be called back instead of waiting.
Call later in the week. For new applications, Thursday and Friday mornings are the least busy times. The best time to file weekly claims through the automated phone system is Tuesday through Thursday after 5 p.m.