Tag Archives: unemployment insurance benefits

Federal Shutdown: Idaho Unemployment Insurance Benefits

This blog post was updated Jan. 29, 2019

Question: I am a federal worker who has been furloughed. Am I eligible for unemployment?

Answer: Yes. You are considered laid off due to lack of work and you need to meet personal and monetary eligibility. However as a federal employee, you also need to be aware of several unintended consequences of applying for unemployment insurance benefits.

Before you apply, please consider the following:

  • You will not receive your first unemployment insurance payment for approximately three weeks after you file for benefits.
  • If the federal government compensates you or back pays you for the work you missed during the furlough (as it has historically), you will be required to disclose your payment information to the department and repay any unemployment insurance benefits you collect during that time.
  • You are required to seek work and make at least two job contacts per week.

Q. Once the shutdown is over, if the federal government back pays us for our time away from work, is this income reportable? If so, how should I report my income?

A. Yes. If you receive your back pay, call us at (208) 332-8942 and let us know.

Q. Once the shutdown is over, if the federal government back pays us for our time away from work, do I have to repay benefits?

A. Yes. For unemployment insurance purposes, any back pay you receive from the federal government is reportable income for the weeks you are furloughed and will result in an overpayment of benefits. Please be aware that unpaid overpayments accrue interest of about 11 percent after 30 days from the overpayment establishment. If you have an outstanding overpayment balance, the department will seize your state tax refund, potentially delaying your refund. If your overpayment balance exceeds $350, you must contact us at (208) 332-3842 to set up a repayment agreement that does not exceed three months to avoid a lien being filed against you.

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Why Can’t I Continue Receiving Unemployment Benefits After Returning to Work?

outdoor worker

Why can’t I continue receiving unemployment benefits after returning to work? It’s just until I get my first paycheck.

There are a few reasons why people are not allowed to receive unemployment benefits after becoming fully employed. First and foremost, it’s important to know that it’s against the law to collect unemployment benefits after you return to full-time work. Unemployment is only meant as temporary financial assistance until you’re employed again.

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Website Downtime: What Unemployment Claimants, Job Seekers Need to Know

Several Idaho Department of Labor Internet applications will be temporarily unavailable starting at 5 p.m. MDT Thursday, Sept. 11, until 7 a.m. MDT Monday, Sept. 15.

The temporary shutdown is necessary for the rollout of several internal computer system enhancements and is scheduled to have a minimal impact on unemployment insurance claimants and businesses.

I normally file my weekly report every Sunday. When should I file my weekly report during the temporary shutdown?

Our system will be available at 7 a.m. MDT Monday Sept. 15. Provided you file your weekly report on Monday, you should not see a delay in your payment for the week ending Sept. 13.

I waited too long to file my weekly report for the week ending Sept. 6. Am I unable to file my weekly report for that week?

Please contact one of our staff members at (208) 332-8942.

Since I am unable to use your website after 5 p.m. MDT Thursday, Sept. 11 to look for work, do I still have to look for work during the week ending Sept. 13?

Although the main Idaho Works job search engine will be unavailable during this planned outage, our expectation is you will still look for work for the week ending Sept. 13. You may use other work search sites, apply online with employers or contact employers in person or by email.

If you have questions, please contact us at (208) 332-8942.

Will your local offices be open on Friday, Sept. 12?

Yes. Veteran services, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) applicant and participant activities will not be affected. Information on registration files, employer records, job listings, referrals and our lobby computers will be unavailable.

If you have questions, please contact your nearest local office. Learn more about the maintenance shutdown schedule here.

How do I Stay Eligible for Unemployment Insurance Benefits?

Note: This blog post was updated Nov. 23, 2016, with new information throughout the article.

To stay eligible for unemployment insurance benefits once you have applied for benefits, you must complete a weekly certification at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal. Click here for instructions. You must also be working less than full time, be available and physically and mentally able to work and actively seeking full-time employment. You also must be willing and able to work all the days and hours normal for the type of work you seek. Finally, you need to remain in the area unless you are seeking work outside of where you live.

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FAQ Friday: I collected unemployment last year. Do I need to report it on my taxes?

 Q. Are unemployment insurance benefits taxable?

A. Yes. Unemployment insurance benefits are fully taxable and you are required to file a tax return for payments received or repaid.

 Q. What do I need from the Department of Labor to file my taxes?

A. If you collect unemployment insurance benefits, you’ll receive a summary of the benefits you received from the Idaho Department of Labor by the end of January. This form, otherwise known as an IRS form 1099-G, will be sent to your last known address. It’s your responsibility to make sure the Idaho Department of Labor has the most recent and correct address. If your address has changed, go to labor.idaho.gov/iw and update it online, even if you are no longer filing. IMPORTANT: YOUR 1099-G WILL INCLUDE YOUR ENTIRE SOCIAL SECUIRTY NUMBER, AS REQUIRED BY THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. FAILURE TO UPDATE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS COULD RESULT IN YOUR 1099-G GOING TO THE WRONG ADDRESS AND PUT YOUR IDENTITY AT RISK.

Q. Can I access my 1099-G information online?

A. Yes. You can download your payment information from www.labor.idaho.gov/iw. All you have to do is select the ‘YearEnd 1099G’ option and print the information.

Q. What if I disagree with the amount listed on my 1099-G?

A. You can also verify the payments you received online at www.labor.idaho.gov/iw. Select the ‘Payment Summary’ option. If you still have questions, call us at (208) 332-8942.

Q. What if I re-paid an overpayment?

A. A 1099-G will be mailed to you and will include any repayments received during the taxable year, excluding penalties and interest.

 Q. What if I did not receive a W-2 from my employer? Can you give me that information? 

A. We are not allowed to provide employer tax identification numbers. Please contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for help obtaining your W-2.

Q. What if I have already filed my taxes by the time I received by 1099-G form?

A. We are not authorized to instruct you on how unemployment insurance affects your taxes. Please contact the Idaho State Tax Commission at (208) 334-7660, (800) 972-7660 or the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040

 Q. What if I have other questions about my taxes?

A. We are not authorized to instruct you on how unemployment insurance affects your taxes. Please contact the Idaho State Tax Commission at (208) 334-7660, (800) 972-7660 or the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040.


FAQ Friday – Unemployment extensions are ending. What can I do to prepare?

A: You are correct; extended unemployment insurance benefits are scheduled to end December 30, 2012, which means no more extended benefit payments each week.

Job fairs are only one of several free services offered by 25 Labor offices located throughout the state. This photo is from a job fair held this fall at the Idaho Center in Nampa.

We all know winter is a tough time to be looking for work in Idaho, which is why now is a good time to take advantage of the many Labor services available to help you find a job:

  • Résumés that highlight your skills, knowledge and abilities;
  • Training resources to help upgrade your skills;
  • Job interview assistance including how to organize your thoughts and present yourself as a strong, confident candidate;
  • Answering difficult questions about your work history;
  • Overcoming barriers you think may be preventing you from getting hired; and
  • Using social media to network your way into your next job.

All of these services and more – like job clubs, professional networking groups and every workshop we offer – are available to the public at no cost.

Yes, a good job can still be hard to find in today’s economy, but we see new job listings every day, so give us a call or visit your nearest local office.

FAQ Friday – Why do I have to wait a week to receive unemployment insurance benefits?

Everyone who files for unemployment insurance in Idaho is required to serve one waiting week and will not receive benefits for that week.

A waiting week reflects an unpaid week when you successfully file your weekly report and meet all the eligibility requirements for receiving unemployment insurance.

People who file for unemployment insurance are required to serve only one waiting week per benefit year, which is a calendar year from the date you file your claim. Once you serve your waiting week – even if you are laid off several times a year – you won’t serve a waiting week each time.

Sometimes people hear the ‘waiting week’ and think that means they are supposed to wait a week until filing their initial claim or a weekly report. Help us abolish this myth and DO NOT WAIT to file. If you don’t file, your waiting week is not counted as served and will only further delay the date you receive a benefit payment.

It is possible to work a partial week and still have that count toward your waiting week, however if you earn more than 1½ times your weekly benefit amount, that week does not qualify as a waiting week.  If this happens, the next week reported on your claim that meets all eligibility requirements will be counted as your waiting week.

Why is there such a thing as a waiting week? One reason was to reduce costs of the program or restore stability to a depleted UI trust fund.  Another reason is to provide administrative convenience.  Some states, such as Wisconsin and Kentucky have adopted a waiting week just within the last few years. Most states do not have waiting periods over one week.

FAQ Friday – How can someone be working and still collect unemployment insurance?

A: That’s right – if you are working reduced hours, you may be able to still potentially collect unemployment insurance benefits, depending on how much you earn.

How much you can earn and still collect benefits depends on two things: 1) your unemployment benefit amount and 2) how much money you earn. Let’s figure it out.

First, multiply your weekly benefit amount by 1.5.  Keep this magic number handy.

Next, calculate how much you earned that week – Sunday through Saturday.  Here is the important part – use gross wages (before taxes) for the week you work, even if you don’t get paid until later.  Don’t fudge this number!  If you can’t get the exact amount, use an estimate or get help from your employer and then call us when you get it.  Incorrect earnings will be discovered during an audit and could result in fraud.

Next, let’s calculate your weekly unemployment payment.

Are your earnings more than the magic number (weekly benefit amount times 1.5). If so, you earned too much to receive unemployment insurance benefits for the week.  If not, subtract your earnings from the magic number.  If the amount left is over your regular benefit amount, you may receive your full payment.  If it is less, that is the amount you receive in partial benefits. The money you don’t receive that week stays in your account, potentially extending your benefits.

And like other claimants, you still need to look for and accept other work opportunities even though you are working part time.

TIP: Report your earnings, even if you know you are still going to get a full payment.  Also, earnings don’t have to be from an employer. They could be cash for fixing a friend’s car, room and board in exchange for housekeeping, self-employment or compensation from the National Guard or Reserve.