FAQ Friday – Why did you change the way we file for unemployment insurance benefits?

Why am I being sent to a phone when I go to my local office for answers to my unemployment insurance questions?

Getting answers to your unemployment insurance questions over the telephone means consistent answers from someone who specializes in unemployment program benefits. It also frees up our local office staff so they can concentrate on helping the unemployed become job seekers and connecting them with employers.

Unfortunately this change is also resulting in high call volumes during our busy times. If you find yourself on hold for more than 30 minutes, you will be asked to leave a voicemail message. Please be assured your voicemail message will be returned. If you are concerned about cellphone minutes or long distance charges, feel free to use a phone in any of our 25 local offices or email us at www@labor.idaho.gov.

I used to be able to not have to look for work during a seasonal layoff because I planned to go back to work for the same employer. What happened?

Job attached designations for seasonal workers are now limited to 12 weeks and applied statewide – with no exceptions to the rule.

Claimants must have a return-to-work date within 12 weeks of their layoff or hours reduction. If your return-to-work date is beyond 12 weeks, you must look for new full-time work to remain eligible for benefits. We aren’t saying you can’t go back to your previous employer, but you will need to look for work during the time you are off.  It may be in an occupation that is busy during a time opposite your normal industry. For example, someone who works as a US Forest Service lookout in the summer could go to work driving a school bus in the fall and winter months.

Taking this step eliminates the difficulty – and often inequity – of assessing seasonal conditions that vary significantly from one region of the state to another.

Learn more about what makes a work search contact valid for unemployment insurance purposes.

I used to be able to file my weekly continued claim report over the phone, but no more. What happened to TeleClaim?

Weekly continued claims must now be filed online. The Tel-A-Claim system for reporting claims over the phone has been discontinued due to a lack of federal funds available for upgrading a system that cannot accommodate enhanced federal work-search requirements necessary for benefit eligibility.

Claimants now need to file their weekly reports from their own computers or public access computers available in libraries or the department’s 25 local offices. Workforce consultants are available at local Labor offices throughout the state to help claimants unfamiliar with filing weekly reports online, however should you have any technical questions about your individual claim, you will be directed to a phone.

Learn more about filing your weekly report online.

Really? Work Search contact details are now required on weekly continued claim reports? 

Yes. If you are collecting unemployment benefits, you must now enter specific, verifiable information about where you looked for work the previous week when you file your weekly continued claim report. Depending on the type of contact made, the information may include the phone number, address and name of the person contacted for a job, website visited (including URL) and confirmation numbers.

Weekly reports are still filed online at www.labor.idaho.gov/cc. We encouraged you to use the work search log to gather contact information that will be required when you file your weekly reports.

Learn more about what makes a work search contact valid for unemployment insurance purposes.

What if I quit or were discharged from my last job?

If you were discharged from or quit your last job, an adjudicator will contact you if they need additional information. It could take up to three weeks, but if necessary, an adjudicator will call or email you (if email is your preferred contact method) to determine if you are eligible for unemployment insurance. In the meantime, make sure you continue to file your weekly reports while waiting for a determination and follow these steps:

1) Report your Waiting Week. This is your first weekly report, which must be reported to certify your claim. File your waiting week online the first Sunday after you open your claim.

2) Start Looking for Work. Keep track of your work search contacts. You are required to make at least two contacts per week to receive payments and waiting week credit.

3) File a Report for Each Week. If you are collecting benefits, you need to file a weekly continued claim report every week at labor.idaho.gov/cc until you are back to full employment. Benefit weeks are from Sunday through Saturday. We recommend filing your weekly report on Sunday. Remember you are filing for the prior week. File carefully and honestly. If you receive a message stating, “An issue has been identified on your claim,” expect a call (or email if that is your preferred contact method) to resolve the issue. If you realize you made a mistake while filing, give us a call at (208) 332-8942. To prevent delays in payment, call within 24 hours.

4) Read the Idaho Labor Unemployment Insurance Claimant Benefit pamphlet. This pamphlet contains information that can protect you from making mistakes during the claim process that can and will jeopardize your benefits. You are responsible for reading and following all directions. You will receive a copy in the mail, along with your monetary determination stating your weekly and total benefit amount, based on the wages your employer reported to us. If the wage information reported by your employer is incorrect, call us to prevent potential overpayments.