Category Archives: Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance helps the economy as well as individual workers

Part five of an explainer series on Idaho’s unemployment insurance (UI) program.

While most discussions about the unemployment insurance benefits program focus on the role as a safety net for individual workers, this is only one of three major purposes it serves. The two others include as an automatic stabilizer for the greater economy during recessions and to preserve the workforces of industries that experience wide annual swings in business due to changes in weather throughout the year.

As an economic stabilizer, unemployment benefits are an insurance policy for the entire economy during recessions or economic disruptions that affect a large number of workers like the Great Recession after the 2008 global financial collapse or shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

During these types of events, with a large drop in employment and a reduction in economic activity as payrolls diminish and buying is curtailed, there is a risk of a snowball effect and greater economic consequences as businesses suffer from the reduction in demand. The stabilizer effect the unemployment insurance program provides is meant to hedge against greater economic turmoil that could lead to a much deeper and long period of economic decline.

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Idaho’s July unemployment rate shows slight increase to 2.6%

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Aug. 19, 2022
Media Contact: Craig.Shaul@labor.idaho.gov or Karen.JarboeSingletary@labor.idaho.gov

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.6% in July, up 0.1 percentage points from June.

Map: Idaho counties and July 2022 unemployment rateThe number of Idahoans employed or looking for work grew by 3,938 people (0.4%) to 952,500. Labor force participation increased by 0.1 percentage points between June and July to 62.6%. Idaho’s peak participation rate reached 71.4% in September 1998.

July’s labor force growth was caused by increases in both employed and unemployed persons. Total employment grew by 3,364 (0.4%) to 927,974 while total unemployment increased by 574 (2.4%) to 24,526.

According to Help Wanted Online, there were 63,010 online job postings in Idaho during July, equating to 2.6 job openings for every unemployed Idahoan looking for work.

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Labor Department works hard to prevent fraud, protect trust fund

This is the fourth article in a series on unemployment insurance.

A key aspect of the Idaho Department of Labor’s administration of the state’s unemployment insurance program is safeguarding it against fraud, misuse and malfeasance on the part of employers or individuals. The vast majority of fraud cases are individual claimants who submit ineligible claims for benefits, or those accepting unemployment insurance payments that were paid to them in error, knowingly or not.

The Idaho Department of Labor takes the issues of fraud and overpayment very seriously and actively works to recover money paid out inappropriately.

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Idaho’s January Unemployment Rate Drops to 3%

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: March 14, 2022
Media Contact: Karen.JarboeSingletary@labor.idaho.gov or Craig.Shaul@labor.idaho.gov

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3% in January – down slightly from a revised December rate of 3.1%. Due to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual benchmarking process, December 2021’s unemployment rate was revised from a record low 2.4%. This realignment of labor market variables is not an indicator of any negative directional changes in the state’s economy.

The number of Idahoans employed or looking for work grew by 2,743 people (0.3%) to 924,469 – a larger over-the-month increase than during any month of 2021.

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Explainer on the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and Taxes

Episode 3 – Trust Fund and Taxes:

For the third installment on Idaho’s unemployment insurance (UI) program, we explain the UI Trust Fund and its influence on the taxes employers pay.

The Trust Fund:

The UI Trust Fund is the center of the UI program.

The most basic function of the UI Trust Fund is as the pool where UI taxes Idaho employers pay are deposited and from which benefits paid to claimants are withdrawn. The diagram of figure 1 compares it with a holding tank shaped like Idaho. As the amount of funds in the tank goes up or down, it determines the tax rates on employers.

Trust Fund Graphics

All 50 states, Washington, D.C. Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands have a UI Trust Fund. The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) requires the UI trust funds be kept with the Unemployment Trust Fund at the U.S. Treasury, and the funds can only be used to pay unemployment benefits.

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Why Did I Receive a 1099-G Tax Form?

The article was updated January 20, 2022.

Why did I receive an IRS Form 1099-G from the Department of Labor?

If you collected or repaid unemployment insurance benefits during 2021, you will be mailed a summary of the benefit payments you received. The IRS Form 1099-G shows the total taxable unemployment benefit amount issued to you by the state of Idaho for a calendar year.

Are unemployment insurance benefits taxable as income?

Yes. Unemployment insurance benefits are taxable income. Payment information is reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Are unemployment benefits provided through the CARES Act taxable as income?  

Yes. They are also treated as taxable income by the IRS and the state of Idaho. Please visit the Idaho Tax Commission or the Internal Revenue Service websites for more information.

Can I access my 1099-G information online?

Yes. Your IRS 1099-G information will be available online by Jan. 31 at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal. It can be found in the “History” section of the Claimant Portal. Select “1099-G Reporting” option on the right-hand side of the screen.

I collected or repaid unemployment insurance benefits and have not received my 1099-G tax form yet. Where is it?

The department mails 1099-G forms at the end of January to the address listed in your UI Claimant Portal account. If you move and do not update your address, the U.S. Post Office may return a Form 1099-G as undeliverable. Your responsibility is to make sure the Idaho Department of Labor has the most recent and correct address. If your address has changed, log into your UI Claimant Portal account and update it by selecting “Edit Profile” on your homepage, even if you are no longer filing. You can also download your 1099-G form online through your Claimant Portal.

IMPORTANT:

  1. Failure to update your mailing address could result in your 1099-G tax form going to the wrong address, putting your identity at risk. Your 1099-G includes your entire social security number, as required by the IRS.
  2. DO NOT print your 1099-G on a public printer. Continue reading

Explaining Idaho’s UI Tax System – Claimants and Benefits

Idaho’s unemployment insurance (UI) program is generally like any other insurance program. It has the same basic components – an intake of funds from insured entities that go into a pooled reserve from which pre-established, eligible losses some experience are covered (Grollier, 2003). Where it differs is it is government run and the source of funds is taxes on employers pooled into a regulated trust fund, with the output the replacement of partial wages for eligible workers.

Though the basic components are similar, this straightforward comparison is too simplistic for the complex UI machine. Explaining how modern cars work by describing the basic components of an engine combusting gasoline to make wheels turn around and around does not really provide enough insight into the inner workings of the car to understand how it works. There is more to a car’s operation and to make it is easier understand, it’s useful to focus in on one aspect at a time. For our overview of the UI program we will take the same approach and focus on benefits and claimants.

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Idaho’s Unemployment Insurance Program Part of a National System

Idaho’s unemployment insurance (UI) program purpose is to replace a portion of an individual’s wages on a temporary basis when they lose a job due to no fault of their own. While the purpose is simple, it is a complicated machine subject to misconceptions.

This is the first installment in a series about Idaho’s unemployment insurance program and how it fits within the national system. The series will perhaps dispel some misunderstandings about the UI program as well.

Idaho’s UI program is one of 53 in the U.S. system that includes every state, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (U.S. Department of Labor: Employment & Training Administration, 2021). All programs share certain characteristics that are foundational to their creation in 1935 (Price, 1985).

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REVISED: Claimant FAQs about Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19

A previous version of this post contained outdated information. All federal CARES Act unemployment assistance programs, including PUA were discontinued June 19, 2021.  Additional information is available here.

See these unemployment insurance FAQs for how to file and navigate the system.

Eligibility

I have COVID-19 or have been told to quarantine due to COVID-19. I am unable to work, or I am not allowed by my employer to work until my quarantine period is over. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

If you are unable to work due to COVID-19, you do not meet the requirements necessary to qualify for benefits.

People eligible for unemployment benefits must be unemployed through no fault of their own and they must be physically and mentally able to work. People with COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19 are often not eligible because they are unable to work, or they are on a leave of absence as instructed by their employer.  However, we also recognize every claim is different, as are individual circumstances.  If you wish to file a claim, you may do so. Once your claim is received, we’ll review it for eligibility using the criteria set forth in state law / rule. If you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19, please do not visit your nearest local office.  Claims may be filed online  or you can call (208) 332-8942 for assistance.

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FAQs – Idaho to End Federal CARES Act Unemployment in June 2021

Question: Is Idaho discontinuing federal CARES Act unemployment insurance programs?

Answer: Yes, Idaho will end its participation in federal pandemic unemployment compensation programs week ending June 19, 2021.

Q: What programs are ending?

A: The following programs will end June 19, 2021.

Q: Should I continue to submit my weekly certifications in case the decision to discontinue PUA gets overturned?

A: No. It is not necessary to continue submitting weekly certifications.

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