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.
NEW April 15: I received my $1,200 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.
UPDATED May 15: Are independent contractors or self-employed workers covered?
Yes. Labor is now making payments for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Find details about the benefit on our Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program web page.
NEW May 15: How does the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program help me if I’m not self-employed?
UPDATED July 10: How long does the $600 temporary increase last?
Payments are effective March 28, 2020 through the week ending July 25, 2020. You’ll find more information on the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program on the Labor website.
UPDATED June 26: Is the $600 temporary increase through the CARES Act taxable?
Yes. Like regular benefits, it is taxable. Ten percent will be withheld if you elected to have taxes withheld from your regular benefits. Find more information about changing your election.
NEW July 10: Are there extensions available for the $600 temporary increase?
No. The program that provides for the temporary emergency increase is a federal program under the CARES Act.
UPDATED April 30: I have exhausted my UI benefits. Are additional benefits available?
Yes. You’ll find more information on the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program on the Labor website.
UPDATED April 28: 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.
COVID-19 Related Questions
NEW July 10: 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. Appeals must be written and signed. You may fax the appeal to (208) 334-6440, or mail it to the Appeals Bureau at 317 W. Main St., Boise, Idaho 83735 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW May 12: 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 the claimant 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 them safe? What are the claimant’s duties in relation to interacting with others? Could they telework? These questions and more must be asked to determine if the claimant has good cause for refusing work. We would look at each situation on a case-by-case basis.
NEW May 12: What should I do when I return to work or find new employment?
It is important that you 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.
NEW May 12: 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.
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 June 26: : If I return to work before my benefits are paid, will I still receive them? ?
Yes, you will be paid for back dates for eligible weeks you have claimed, including the additional $600.
NEW April 23: I have heard about forms you can fill out and send to the unemployment agency to speed up the process. Is this option available?
No. Please do not submit a paper application or use apps that result in paper applications to file for unemployment. Idaho only accepts applications online at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal. If you are unable to file online, you may call us at (208) 332-8942 and request that your claim be taken over the phone.
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.
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.
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