Tag Archives: unemployment insurance benefits

Labor Adds Phone Lines and Agents to Help Answer Claimant Calls

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: May 29, 2020
Media Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102

The Idaho Department of Labor has contracted with a call center to provide additional agents for claimants who want to talk to someone about their claim beginning Monday. The goal is for claimants to eventually experience shorter hold times.

All claimants who call Labor will be directed to call a new toll-free number – (833) 410-1009 – where an additional 30 people will be available to answer calls, take new claims over the phone and unlock accounts, among other tasks. These additional resources free up Labor staff to handle more complex issues with claims.

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Idaho Sees 5,795 New Weekly Initial Claims Because of COVID-19

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: May 14, 2020
Information Contact: Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Salvador Vazquez, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3218

Initial claims reached 5,795 during the week ending May 9, a 23 percent decline from the previous week.

Laid-off Idaho workers filed 131,101 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the eight weeks of the COVID-19 state of emergency – 2.2 times the total number of initial claims filed in all of 2019.

It was the sixth week the number of new claims fell, while continued claims – the number of people who claimed benefits – fell to 65,478, a decline of 9 percent from the previous week.

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Labor Ready to Accept Applications for Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102

Idahoans who are out of work and have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits can now apply for extended benefits under the CARES Act online at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal.

Changes made by the Idaho Department of Labor to its system will add an additional 13 weeks to an eligible claimant’s unemployment benefit year. To qualify, a claimant must have a claim with a benefit year ending date after July 1, 2019.

The payments are retroactive to March 29 or the first week after an individual exhausts benefits, whichever is later.

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Idaho’s Weekly Initial Claims Because of COVID-19 Reach 117,000

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102 or Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

Laid-off Idaho workers filed 117,811 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the six weeks of the COVID-19 state of emergency – twice the total number of initial claims filed in all of 2019.

Initial claims reached 8,827 during the week ending April 25, a 32 percent decline from the previous week.

It was the third week the number of new claims fell, while continued claims – the number of valid claims filed by people who are eligible, currently claiming benefits and still unable to return to work – reached 71,416. Continue reading

Regional COVID-19 Pandemic Weekly Update – April 17, 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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Idaho’s Weekly Initial Claims Exceed Total Filed in 2019

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 16, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102 or Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

Idahoans filed more initial claims for unemployment benefits in the four weeks since the state of emergency was declared – 95,961 – than the total filed during all 2019 by 60 percent.

Initial claims for the week of April 11 filed from job losses due to the coronavirus slowed to 18,531 – down 40 percent from the week prior – but still a record for any week since 2013.

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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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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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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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Labor Phone Lines Overloaded with Calls

NEWS RELEASE

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.  Continue reading