Note: All federal CARES Act unemployment assistance programs, including PUA will discontinue week ending June 19, 2021. Additional information is available here.
FAQs for Claimants
See these unemployment insurance FAQs for how to file and navigate the system.
Updated or new FAQs are noted with the date.
What is the CARES Act?
The federal CARES Act programs provide economic assistance to unemployed workers. The CARES Act consists of programs for an additional $300 per week, individuals who are not eligible for regular benefits, and extended benefits.
Did the CARES Act programs expire?
Yes. But Congress passed legislation to extend the CARES Act programs that affect unemployment benefits. Former President Trump signed it into law on Dec. 20, 2020.
Will I receive an additional $300 per week?
Yes. The Federal Pandemic Compensation (FPUC) program will add an additional $300 to a weekly benefit payment, effective 12/27/2020.
How do I apply for the additional $300 per week?
No additional action is required on your part. If you submit your weekly certification report and are eligible for a full or partial unemployment payment, you will receive the additional $300.
Are independent contractors or self-employed workers covered?
Yes. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provides benefits to self-employed individuals who became unemployed because of COVID-19 and are not eligible for regular benefits.
How does the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program help me if I’m not self-employed?
Can employees work part time and receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?
It depends. The individual must be unemployed, or unable/unavailable to work due to a qualifying COVID-19 related reasons. Reduced hours is not a qualifying reason.
I have exhausted my UI benefits. Are additional benefits available?
Yes. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program provides extended benefits for exhausted claims for a maximum of 24 weeks.
COVID-19 Related Questions
Why did I receive a “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Personal Eligibility Determination Not Eligible for benefits under PUA” letter in the mail denying benefits?
You were denied benefits for the period of time listed on the letter because you did not indicate you were unemployed due to qualifying COVID-19 pandemic reasons on your weekly certification application. If you disagree with the determination, you may appeal.
Can I lose my benefits if I do not return to work when my employer’s business reopens?
Yes. You can potentially lose benefits if you do not return to work when the business opens. We would obtain details to find out whether you had good cause for not returning to work. We would ask for the reason for refusing work. Is this based on concern or fact (for example, do others in the workplace have COVID-19)? What does the employer have in place to keep you safe? What are your duties in relation to interacting with others? Could you telework? These questions and more must be asked to determine if you have good cause for refusing work. We look at each situation on a case-by-case basis.
What should I do when I return to work or find new employment?
Stop filing weekly reports when you return to work full time, even if you will not be receiving a paycheck that week. You do not need to contact the department or withdraw your claim when you return to work full time. Your claim will go inactive within two weeks after you stop filing weekly reports. If you become unemployed or underemployed again, you must reopen their claim at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal.
What if I‘m temporarily laid off because the place where I work is temporarily closed due to COVID-19?
An individual temporarily laid off may qualify for benefits if he or she was able, available for and actively seeking work or returning to work with their employer.
Will I be required to look for work if I am temporarily out of for work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)?
No. If you are unemployed due to COVID-19 related reasons and will be returning to work with your employer, you are not required to seek work or register for work with us. Answer ‘yes’ to the question asking if you are returning to work on your unemployment application.
What if I am ill or have been diagnosed with COVID-19?
If you are unable to work due to COVID-19, you would not meet the able requirements to qualify for benefits. If you become ill after you have applied for unemployment, eligibility would be determined on a case-by-case review.
What if I quit my job because I am generally concerned over COVID-19?
It depends. Quitting for health reasons may be good cause. This would be determined on a case-by-case review.
What if I am confined to my home because of COVID-19?
It depends. If you are physically or mentally unable to work due to COVID-19, you generally would not meet the availability requirements to qualify for benefits. If you are isolated (quarantined) under the direction of a medical professional, local health district, your employer or state/local government, you may be eligible if you are off work because of COVID-19, provided you are returning to work with your employer.
What if I leave work because my child’s school has temporarily closed, and I feel I have to stay home with the child?
An individual who leaves work voluntarily without a reason attributable to the employer is generally disqualified from receiving UI. The reason the individual in this situation left work would not be considered attributable to the employer. Consequently, the individual would likely not qualify for UI. If you are unable or unavailable for work, you would not meet the able and available requirements to qualify for benefits.
What if I am currently in isolation due to COVID-19, but have not been diagnosed?
You could be eligible for benefits. This would be determined on a case-by-case review.
General Unemployment Insurance
I have a pending issue preventing payment. What does that mean?
If your status is “Pending Issue Stopping Payment,” additional information could be needed to determine if you are eligible for benefits. If a claims representative is not able to resolve the issue without speaking with you, they will contact you by phone or email for additional information to resolve your issue. Please be advised that your issue status on the Claimant Portal takes overnight to reflect resolved issues.
Should I contact the department if I have pending issues on my claim?
No. A claims representative will contact you by phone or email for additional information. It is not necessary for you to call us to have the issue resolved. Continue to file your weekly certifications.
Why does the online benefits application look like it’s unavailable?
If you are applying online using a tablet or phone, please ensure you using Chrome, Edge or Safari browsers. You will not be able to use your phone or tablet if you are using Internet Explorer (IE).
What is the quickest payment method – direct deposit or a bank card?
Your first payment will arrive 5-7 business days earlier if you enroll in direct deposit. View additional payment information here.
How much will I receive in unemployment insurance?
You can access your projected benefit amount online at labor.idaho.gov/claimant portal when you submit your unemployment insurance application.
I received my $600 stimulus payment. Do I report it on my unemployment insurance application or weekly certification?
No. The stimulus payment is not tied to employment and is not reportable for unemployment insurance purposes.
Are benefits paid through the CARES Act taxable?
Ten percent will be withheld for federal taxes if you elected to have taxes withheld from your regular benefits. We cannot withhold state taxes. Find more information about changing your election.
Do I have to report other income, for example, if my employer gave me part of their stimulus package?
Yes. This is reportable income categorized as “other income,” and reportable in the week that you receive it. This is reportable every week if you are receiving it on your regularly scheduled pay dates. This occurs when the employer gets a Paycheck Protection Program loan and then pays the claimant their regular or a portion of their regular paycheck.
Is it possible for claimants with health issues to expedite the claims process?
No. Claims are generally worked oldest to newest. They are not in order based on need.
Note: Comments were turned off from this article due to the personal, specific and confidential nature of the comments being posted. We will continue to add FAQs to address new situations as they arise.