EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT
[Filed December 23, 1998, 10:31 a.m.]
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 98-18-090.
Title of Rule: Filing applications for unemployment benefits, filing weekly benefit claims, filing appeals and petitions for review, and notices provided to claimants.
Purpose: Beginning in February 1999, the department will implement a new process whereby applications for unemployment benefits will be filed by telephone rather than in person. The proposed changes are needed to identify how information will be provided to claimants, and how claimants are to request or provide information to the department, when claims are processed in an unemployment claims telecenter rather than in a local office.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 50.20.010, 50.12.040.
Statute Being Implemented: RCW 50.20.140.
Summary: The rules describe how applications for unemployment benefits, weekly benefit claims, appeals, and commissioner approved training requests, are to be filed when the department transitions to unemployment claims telecenters. They also describe the information and written notices that will be provided by the department to individuals claiming unemployment benefits.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: The 1998 legislature passed HB [SSB] 6420 authorizing the department to accept unemployment applications by means other than in writing. The proposals provide for filing of applications and claims by telephone.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Juanita Myers, 212 Maple Park, Olympia, WA 98506, (360) 902-9665; Implementation and Enforcement: Dale Ziegler, 212 Maple Park, Olympia, WA 98506, (360) 902-3030.
Name of Proponent: Employment Security Department, governmental.
Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.
Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: The proposed rules provide instructions on filing applications for unemployment benefits, weekly benefit claims, and commissioner approved training, as well as appeals and petitions for review. They also describe the information that will be provided by the department to claimants, and how that information will be provided. These instructions are being modified because, beginning in February 1999, the department will begin taking applications for unemployment benefits via telephone calls to centralized unemployment claims telecenters, rather than claimants filing applications in person or by mail to a local office in their community. Authorization for the department to accept applications by means other than a written request was provided by the 1998 legislature in SSB 6420. It is anticipated that implementation of unemployment claims telecenters will result in improved customer services, reduced costs to the department, and more consistent application of the laws and rules governing unemployment benefits.
Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: The rules on filing appeals and petitions for review are amended to delete references to in-person filings. This is because unemployment claims processing will be done at the unemployment claims telecenters, which will not be available for in-person reporting. All transactions are being conducted via telephone, mail, or electronic telefacsimile. In addition, the rule is clarified regarding the agency records that will be maintained in the local employment centers.
No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The proposed changes make no significant policy changes regarding how eligibility for unemployment benefits will be determined. They merely change the method by which applications and claims are filed. We do not anticipate the changes will result in more than minor costs on businesses in any industry.
Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption. The proposed rules do not constitute "significant legislative rules" within the meaning of RCW 34.05.328. They pertain only to the method by which individuals file their applications and claims for unemployment benefits, and do not impact eligibility requirements. The proposed rules best fit within the definition of "procedural rules" described in the statute.
Hearing Location: Employment Security Department, Public Affairs Conference Room, 2nd Floor, 212 Maple Park, Olympia, WA, on February 10, 1999, at 10:00 a.m.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Karen LaFreniere by February 9, 1999, TDD (360) 902-9589, or (360) 902-9582.
Submit Written Comments to: Barney Hilliard, Rules Coordinator, Employment Security Department, P.O. Box 9046, Olympia, WA 98504-9046, fax (360) 438-3226, by February 9, 1999.
Date of Intended Adoption: February 12, 1999.
December 22, 1998
Reviser's note: The material contained in this filing exceeded the page-count limitations of WAC 1-21-040 for appearance in this issue of the Register. It will appear in the 99-02 issue of the Register.