FAQ Friday – Do I have to look for work while receiving unemployment benefits?

Editor’s note: This article was updated Dec. 6, 2019, to reflect changes to work search requirements.

Here are some quick answers to questions about unemployment insurance benefits:

Do I have to seek work each week?

It depends. You MUST comply with the work-seeking requirements you received when you filed your claim. Unless otherwise specified in your work search plan, you are required to make a good faith effort to seek full-time work each week that you claim benefits, even if you are employed part time.

You will be required to contact employers in your area that hire people for the type of work you are seeking or perform work search activities that are normally done by people seeking employment. If you have a definite date to return to full-time work and are coded in our system as job attached, you must maintain contact with the employer for whom you are returning to work.

You must keep track of your work search activities including employers, their addresses and phone numbers, dates and names of contacts, method of contact, the type of work you sought and results of the contact.

A work search record form is available on the Labor website

What is an acceptable work search activity or employer contact?

Examples of acceptable work-search contacts or activities include:

  • Submitting an application, resume, cover letter or letter of interest to an employer.
  • Interviewing for a position. Interviewing with the employer who you previously used as a contact is also acceptable.
  • Receiving work search assistance from the Idaho Department of Labor. We recommend attending an interview preparation class, participating in a mock interview workshop or meeting with a staff member one-on-one.
  • Attending a job seeker event such as a job fair, virtual job fair, hiring event or job club.
  • Registering with a staffing service, recruiter or placement agency.
  • Using placement services that provide professional assistance to job seekers.
  • Completing employer-required prerequisites for a job such as background check or drug testing.
  • Networking or meeting with others in your career field in an attempt to obtain work.
  • Asking an employer about employment opportunities AND submitting an application if the employer is accepting them.
  • Emailing or calling an employer to request an application AND submitting the completed application if available.

You may find our Acceptable Work Search Contact publication helpful.

How will I know if I am required to look for work?

You will be given your work search instructions during the online claim filing process. Never assume you are not required to look for work. Call us at (208) 332-8942 if you have questions regarding your work search requirements.

Can the Idaho Department of Labor help me find a job?

Yes. Help is available at no charge at any of our Labor offices. Find all the locations for Labor local and mobile offices at labor.idaho.gov/officedirectory. Workshops on resume writing, interviewing and more are available. Check the calendar for specific dates. You can also access our job information on the Labor website.