Monthly Archives: April 2020

Labor to Change Phone Availability Times to Help Speed Up Claims Turnaround

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 13, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102

The Idaho Department of Labor is adjusting its phone schedule to accept incoming calls between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. MST, and is reserving the hours of 4 to 6 p.m. MST for processing claims.

The move is expected to aid hundreds more recently unemployed Idahoans daily by freeing up time for staff to return phone calls, resolve issues preventing payment and process claims more quickly.

“Our goal is serve Idahoans as quickly as possible through this difficult time, and adjusting our phone schedule means we can focus on processing claims so Idahoans will receive their benefit payments sooner. This move reduces wait times for phone calls and click to chat interactions,” said Labor Director Jani Revier.

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Regional COVID-19 Pandemic Weekly Update – April 9, 2020

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions to the economy. Each week in March brought news and developments that were historic and overshadowed the previous week’s developments. It has been impossible to keep up with the magnitude and volume of the economic impact affecting Idaho and its regions.

To document this event in Idaho, and the changes our state is experiencing from week to week, the Idaho Department of Labor is providing a weekly update. Pertinent events and data as it becomes available will be provided for each region in Idaho, the state as a whole and the context of the national economy.

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New Federal Policies and Programs to Help Shore Up COVID-19 Economy

CARES Act Summary – COVID-19 Federal Rescue Bill
Federal Monetary Policy Response to COVID-19

The Federal Reserve announced a variety of new lending initiatives aimed at injecting $2.3 trillion of financing for businesses as well as state and local governments. The new stimulus will include lending to governments as well as increased purchases of corporate bonds, including high-yield or junk bonds. Source: Wall Street Journal

CARES Act – COVID-19 Federal Rescue Bill – Summary

Note: We are working with our partners at the U.S. Department of Labor to implement the programs in the CARES Act affecting Idaho Department of Labor customers as quickly as possible. This could take several weeks once USDOL issues the guidance to the states. Updates will be posted on Labor’s COVID-19 website,

Direct Rescue Checks to Households – All U.S. residents with adjusted gross incomes up to $75,000 — $150,000 for married couples — will receive $1,200 — or $2,400 for couples — in direct payments. Families get an additional $500 per child, and payments phase out above the $75,000 mark, disappearing altogether at $99,000.

Enhanced Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits – UI benefits expand in scope, duration and value. Claimants can get an extra $600 per week for up to four months. Gig economy workers are also now eligible for benefits, affecting a multidimensional expansion of unemployment benefits — more people, bigger payments, longer duration.

$500 Billion in Flexible Rescue Loans – The Treasury has discretion to allocate up to $500 in loans to failing industries, or local and state governments. An accountability committee will be set up to oversee the program, though Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has broad power to initiate lending. Continue reading

Filing for UI Benefits? Double Check that Website.

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 9, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102

Beware of Unemployment Insurance Scams

Idahoans applying for unemployment insurance for the first time should be extra vigilant about what websites they access to file for benefits, according to the Department of Labor.

“People need to be careful,” said Idaho Department of Labor Director Jani Revier. “If you are applying for unemployment benefits, make sure you enter your information into a labor.idaho.gov webpage and not a fake website designed to steal personally identifiable information.”

First-time filers for unemployment insurance represent a large share of Idahoans applying for benefits, and according to the department’s IT security team, hackers are taking full advantage of the urgency people feel around COVID-19.

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Idahoans File 30,904 More Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 9, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102 or Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

Idaho workers laid off due to the coronavirus filed 30,904 initial claims for unemployment insurance between March 29 and April 4, a decrease of 6.2 percent from the previous week’s record level of 32,941.

The combined three-week total of claims filed since Gov. Brad Little declared a state of emergency the week of March 8 is 77,430 – an increase of 7,400 percent.

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Labor Committed to Help Idahoans Navigate Difficult Times

Implementing CARES Act Will Take Time

by Idaho Department of Labor Director Jani Revier

As Idahoans grapple with the fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and many face an uncertain economic future, I want to assure the people of Idaho that the Department of Labor is here to assist our fellow citizens through these difficult times.

Because of the rapid onset of the pandemic and immediacy of its impact on our economy, states across the country had almost no time to ramp up services to meet the urgent demand. Here in Idaho, we have seen a 4,400 percent increase in the number of claims being filed from the week prior to March 8, when Gov. Brad Little declared a state of emergency. Calls coming into our office have exploded and the sheer volume of web and phone traffic has caused strains on our staff and technical challenges for our systems.

We are redirecting department resources and hiring new people, but it will take time – several weeks – to address the issues and answer every question.

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Idaho Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Increase 143%

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 2, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 x 2102 or Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

Idaho workers laid off due to the coronavirus filed 32,941 initial claims for unemployment insurance between March 22-28, 2020, an increase of 143 percent over the previous week.

The 32,941 claims represent a record number of Idaho initial claims filed during one week and is 2.4 times more than filed the previous week.

Department analysts also revised the number of initial claims filed for the week of March 15 -21 to 13,585, pushing the total filed since Gov. Brad Little declared a state of emergency, to 46,526 – an increase of 4,400 percent from the week prior to March 8, 2020.

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CARES Act Takes Time for States to Implement

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 1, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, 208-332-3570 x 2102

Idaho, like all states, will need to change its unemployment insurance system in order to make payments to people authorized to receive additional benefits under the CARES Act.

Congress passed the CARES Act – which includes numerous provisions affecting the national unemployment insurance program – and Pres. Donald Trump signed it last week.

Workers, such as the self-employed and those paid by 1099 or in the gig economy, may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under the Act.

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