by Idaho Department of Labor Director Jani Revier
Crime rings across the globe are exploiting the COVID-19 crisis by attempting to commit large-scale fraud against multiple state unemployment insurance programs, and Idaho is not exempt.
These crime rings possess large databases of stolen personally identifiable information which is used to submit a large volume of applications for unemployment benefits. Scammers use the names and addresses of Idaho residents, but then have payments sent to bank accounts in other states or have bank cards mailed to different addresses.
Are the unemployment insurance benefits funded through the CARES Act extended?
Yes. On March 12, 2021, Pres. Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This Act extended the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. The programs are set to end on week ending Sept. 4, 2021. The American Rescue Plan contains a new provision to exempt $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 from federal income taxes. The state of Idaho does not exempt unemployment insurance benefits from state income taxes.
I am currently on an extension. Am I eligible for additional weeks?
Yes. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is often referred to as extended benefits. The bill added 29 weeks, extending the maximum number of benefit weeks from 24 to 53.
I am currently self-employed and receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Are my benefits extended?
Yes. PUA is a program for low wage earners and self-employed individuals. The bill extended the program an additional 29 weeks, extending the maximum number of weeks from 50 to 79.
For Immediate Release: March 2, 2021
Media Contact: Darlene Carnopis, Darlene.firstname.lastname@example.org or Georgia Smith, Georgia.Smith@labor.idaho.gov
The Idaho Department of Labor is reminding people to be alert for identity theft related to unemployment insurance claims.
Many individuals have had their personal information compromised, hacked or breached by fraudsters in a large-scale nationwide scam involving phony unemployment benefits claims. If someone has applied for benefits using your personal information, it may have been stolen and misused by fraudsters for unemployment benefits. The Labor unemployment insurance system has not been hacked, nor subject to a data breach.
If you are notified by the Labor Department that a claim has been filed under your name when you did not file the claim, disregard the letter or email and do not click on the link in the email.
Who is ID.me?
ID.me is our federally certified partner for secure digital identity verification. ID.me helps make sure you’re you – and not someone pretending to you be you – when you apply for unemployment insurance. Claimants who are sent an email and letter from the Idaho Department of Labor about identity verification are required to verify their identity through the ID.me application, which can be accessed online with a laptop, desktop computer or cell phone.
I received a letter to verify my identity through ID.me, but I did not file a claim. What do I do?
Please email your full name and phone number to email@example.com. Please be assured we will stop payments and contact you for additional information if necessary. You can file a report on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website about this situation. The FTC can help you recover from identity theft and has resources and information to protect your identity, including credit bureau contact information found here: https://www.identitytheft.gov/Steps
The number of Idahoans who filed a continued claim for regular state unemployment insurance benefits increased six percent for the week ending Dec. 19 to 11,225, up 595 over the previous week. The four-week moving average for continued claims increased from 9,804 for the week ending Dec. 12 to 10,412.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits totaled 3,956 for the week ending Dec. 19, down by 127 claims, while the four-week moving average decreased by 4 percent to 4,276.
For Immediate Release: Dec.18 2020
Media Contacts: Georgia Smith, Georgia.Smith@labor.idaho.gov or Darlene Carnopis, Darlene.Carnopis@labor.idaho.gov
Idaho employers will see a roughly 18 percent decrease in unemployment insurance tax rates for 2021.
The state’s new employer rate remains at 1.0 percent – the lowest rate allowed by federal conformity requirements.
“Thanks to Governor Little approving a $200 million transfer of CARES Act funding to keep the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund whole, most Idaho businesses will see a decrease in their tax rate for 2021,” said Jani Revier, Idaho Department of Labor director. “This move by the governor allows Idaho to keep UI tax rates low in the coming year and will help business owners as they navigate through these difficult times,” Revier said.
Question: I hear Congress approved extending unemployment benefits and other stimulus programs.
Answer: Congress has passed legislation to extend the CARES Act programs that affect unemployment benefits. Now that it has been signed by President Trump, states will be informed about how to implement the program. Until then, we have no additional details and cannot answer your phone calls regarding the extension. We will post any updates on our FAQs and website as they become available. Please continue to submit your weekly reports.
Q: I hear that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is ending.
A: You are correct, unemployment insurance programs and extensions funded by the federal CARES Act expired Dec. 26, 2020, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
Q: How do I know if I am receiving unemployment insurance funded by the Federal CARES Act?
A: PEUC, or extended benefits program, adds 13 weeks to exhausted unemployment benefits. If you applied for extended benefits on the Claimant Portal, you’ll see confirmation that your extended benefits application was approved on the Claimant Portal home page under Extended Benefits.
PUA is for self-employed, low wage earners or workers with denied issues who were unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals who are primarily self-employed uploaded tax information to the Claimant Portal to determine monetary eligibility.
For Immediate Release: Nov. 13, 2020
Media Contact: Darlene Carnopis, Darlene.firstname.lastname@example.org
The Idaho Department of Labor reminds Idahoans applying for unemployment insurance to be careful about which websites they access to file for benefits.
Idahoans filing for unemployment insurance benefits should apply online at labor.idaho.gov/ClaimantPortal.
Question: Are unemployment insurance applications being filed by people who have stolen someone’s identity?
Answer: Yes. Crime rings across the globe are exploiting the COVID-19 crisis by attempting to commit large scale fraud against multiple state unemployment insurance programs. These crime rings possess substantial databases of stolen personally identifiable information which is used to submit a large volume of applications for unemployment benefits. Scammers use the names and addresses of Idaho residents, but then have payments sent to bank accounts in other states or have bank cards mailed to different addresses. The department is working closely with federal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General to address fraud.
For Immediate Release: Sept. 24, 2020
Media Contact: Craig Shaul, Craig.Shaul@labor.idaho.gov or Salvador Vazquez, Salvador.Vazquez@labor.idaho.gov
Unemployment continued claims – the number of people who requested an unemployment benefit payment – continued to fall the week ending Sept. 19, dropping 7 percent from the previous week to 10,708, the 20th consecutive week of declines.
The four-week moving average for continued claims fell 10 percent – from 13,842 for the week ending Sept. 12 to 12,416 for the week ending Sept. 19.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits totaled 3,437 for the week ending Sept. 19, dropping by 6 percent – or 235 claims – from the previous week. The four-week moving average declined by 2.4 percent to 3,650 new initial claims per week.