For Immediate Release: March 30, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102
People are asked to visit Labor website for answers; file for benefits online
Idaho is one of several states across the nation where the surge of newly laid-off workers is overwhelming state unemployment phone systems.
Laid-off workers who need to file for benefits – or have questions about unemployment insurance – should file online or visit the agency website instead of calling the department.
“You do not have to call the department to file a claim. Everything can be done online and most questions can be answered by reviewing the posted material,” said Idaho Department of Labor director Jani Revier. “Our call volume is high and most callers are receiving a busy signal and will not get through.”
Jammed phone lines also prevent the department’s claim specialists from calling out to resolve issues with individual claims. When the department notifies a claimant there is an issue with their claim, the individual needs to wait for an agency claims specialist to call.
Answers to questions about unemployment insurance and COVID-19 are in the FAQ section of the labor website at www.labor.idaho.gov. To make it easier, questions are divided into two categories: regular questions about unemployment insurance and specific questions about COVID-19.
On Friday, federal lawmakers agreed to a significant expansion of the nation’s unemployment insurance program, however, according to Revier, it will take time to implement the CAREs Act programs at the state level.
“Help is on the way, and we are working to implement the changes as soon as possible,” said Revier. “People need to be patient as we work through the details with our federal partner.”
In the meantime, laid-off workers should go ahead and apply for benefits, even if they are not sure they qualify.
People filing for benefits need to watch the videos, read the frequently asked questions and read the user guides on the Claimant Portal web page before they file online at labor.idaho.gov/ClaimantPortal.
The department will notify the public about general program changes via email, social media, messages on its website and regular updates to the FAQs.
Many essential businesses including grocery stores and assisted living facilities have urgent need for workers. To look for work, visit idahoworks.gov.
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