FAQs for Claimants
COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits
Lawmakers agreed to a significant expansion of the unemployment insurance program with the CARES Act. Additional compensation, extensions, and assistance for self-employed individuals are all coming. We are working with our partners at U.S. Department of Labor for further details so we can implement the changes. We are working as quickly as possible to provide support for Idahoans. Please be assured you will be made aware of any changes that will potentially impact your unemployment benefit claim.
See these unemployment insurance FAQs for how to file and navigate the system.
Updated or new FAQs are noted with the date.
UPDATED March 31: Are independent contractors or self-employed workers covered?
Yes. The CAREs Act expanded the unemployment insurance program to include Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This program allows payment for individuals who are not eligible for regular benefits, particularly self-employed individuals. We are working with the U.S. Department of Labor on further details so we can implement these changes, which could take several weeks. Please apply for benefits online at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal and continue to submit your weekly certifications. Enter your work history on the online application as self-employment. We will inform you of any changes that will potentially affect your unemployment benefit claim.
UPDATED April 6: I heard I am going to get $600 more per week? When does this start?
The CAREs Act includes Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which adds an additional $600 to each claimant’s weekly payment. This is effective for weeks claimed with the week ending April 4, 2020, but we need additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor as well as to make programming changes which could take several weeks. If you are eligible, you will receive your regular weekly benefit amount now, and then you will receive the $600 retroactively when we get it programmed.
NEW March 30: I have exhausted my UI benefits. Are additional benefits available?
Yes. The CAREs Act expanded the unemployment insurance programto include Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). This program extends benefits for claimants who exhaust their regular benefits. We are working with the U.S. Department of Labor on further details so we can implement these changes. If you have exhausted benefits, please continue to submit your weekly certifications. You will be made aware of any changes that will potentially affect your unemployment benefit claim.
NEW April 6: 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.
COVID-19 Related Questions
What if I‘m temporarily laid off because the place where I work is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus?
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.
Updated April 3: 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. You are still required to submit your weekly reports and to maintain contact with your employer.
NEW April 1: I failed to indicate I would be returning with an employer on my online application. Do I need to call the department?
No. If the question was marked incorrectly, you will initially be coded as work seeking, but our claim specialists are correcting this for you as quickly as possible. Many customers answered this question incorrectly due to the unique circumstances we are in. If a claim specialist has already corrected your work search requirement, you will be asked if you maintained contact with your employer when you submit your weekly certification. If a claim specialist has not yet corrected your work search requirements, you will be asked to provide at least two work search contacts. Answer that you are unable to report two work search contacts for the week. A question will appear asking: “you indicated you did not seek work for this benefit week, is that correct?” Answer yes. You will be asked to select the reason you did not seek work. Click on Other. Indicate you will be returning to work with your employer as soon as COVID-19 restrictions subside. A claim specialist will review these weekly reports, waive the work search requirement and correct your work search status on your claim.
Will my waiting week be waived?
It depends. If you filed your claim on or after 3/8/2020, the waiting week is waived for the length of Gov. Brad Little’s proclamation. If you filed your claim prior to 3/8/2020, there are no provisions to waive the waiting week. Click here for more information.
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 the COVID-19 virus?
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) due to 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 and provided you are returning to work with your employer. If you are unemployed due to the Governor’s stay home order, you may be eligible for benefits.
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.
If there is a separation due to the coronavirus, will I receive accrued vacation/PTO or sick pay?
It depends. Idaho law does not require the payment of vacation, holiday or sick pay. These items are agreed upon between the employer and the employee. If there is any change in a policy, the employee must be notified prior to the change.
General Unemployment Insurance
NEW April 3: Why does the online benefits application look like it’s unavailable?
We recently updated our application and it now compatible with tablets or cellphones. 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).
Can employees work part time and receive unemployment?
Yes. They can receive some or all of their weekly unemployment payment if they work part time. Gross earnings must be reported on the weekly certification during the week earned (not when paid). Click here to learn how the wages affect unemployment payments.
What is the quickest payment method – direct deposit or a bank card?
Your first payment will arrive 7-10 business days earlier if you enroll in direct deposit. If you do not sign up for direct deposit, your payment method will default to a bank card. Please know that the bank card will arrive by mail 7-10 business days after your first payment is issued. You may enroll in direct deposit online at labor.idaho.gov/claimant portal under the Manage Claims section.
How long does it take for someone to receive their first payment?
If there is nothing preventing payment, likely in about a week after filing. If there is an issue preventing payment, claims are worked in the order filed. Unfortunately, right now, due to extremely high claims volume, there will be a delay.
NEW March 30: 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.
UPDATED April 3: Can I apply for benefits if I do not have an Idaho driver’s license?
Yes. If you file online and have an identification card or out-of-state driver’s license, your online profile information will remain unverified, but please continue with the online application.
UPDATED April 8: 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 or initiate a click to chat session with us to have the issue resolved. Continue to file your weekly certifications.
Note: Please do not put questions about your specific situation in the comments space on this article as we cannot answer individual questions online in order to protect your privacy. Because of privacy considerations, if you have included your personal information (such as Social Security number, case number, phone number) in your comment, the comment cannot be published.