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).
For Immediate Release: June 14, 2021
Media Contacts: Joshua McKenna, email@example.com or Georgia Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Idaho Department of Labor is reminding Idahoans to be alert for a text messaging scam involving unemployment insurance claims.
Individual personal information has been compromised, hacked or breached by fraudsters in a large-scale nationwide scam involving phony texts about unemployment insurance.
If you receive a text with a link regarding unemployment insurance, disregard the text and do not click on the link. A fraudster has obtained – or stolen – your telephone number and is most likely using it to access unemployment benefits and steal your personal information. The text states your Idaho unemployment insurance claim is on hold for verification and instructs you to click on a link to reactivate your benefits. This text is a scam and should be deleted immediately.
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.
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.
For Immediate Release: March 2, 2021
Media Contact: Darlene Carnopis, Darlene.email@example.com 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.
What is ID.me?
ID.me is the Idaho Department of Labor’s federally certified partner for verifying your identity. The department uses ID.me to prevent fraud and identity thieves from using your information to file for unemployment insurance benefits. Claimants are required to complete the digital ID.me verification process when filing for benefits online at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal.
UPDATED Oct. 18, 2021: Why do I have to sign in with ID.me just to use Claimant Portal?
The department saw significant attempts by fraudsters to file claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of that, we partnered with ID.me to require a higher identity standard to prevent fraudsters from accessing claims or filing claims on other’s behalf. As of Oct. 13, we have taken the next step to help make sure your unemployment account is secure by having claimants log in to ID.me every time before accessing Claimant Portal.
UPDATED Oct. 12, 2021: What will I see when I go to the Claimant Portal homepage?
You will see a green button which will direct you to ID.me for your log in. You can follow our tutorial for a step-by-step guide.
UPDATED Oct. 12, 2021: How long will it take me to verify my identity each time I use Claimant Portal?
Once you have an ID.me account, most of the time it should take you just a few minutes. This authentication process is similar to what banks and other businesses use. If you have not signed into ID.me in a while, you may have to upload a new selfie photo or take other steps to verify your identity.
UPDATED Oct. 12, 2021: What if I don’t have a cell phone?
You can borrow a cell phone for the verification process at the Labor office or remote location nearest to you.
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.
Note: All federal CARES Act unemployment assistance programs, including PUA will discontinue week ending June 19, 2021. Additional information is available here.
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.