Published in: Banks | March 27, 2020

How to Apply for Unemployment in Idaho

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Idaho has made it easier to apply for unemployment if your layoff is due to coronavirus.

The novel coronavirus has had a massive economic impact as states order businesses to close to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If you are affected by a reduction in hours or job loss, you may need to apply for unemployment in Idaho. This guide will help you understand how to get financial help so you have money coming into your bank account. 

The Idaho state flag flying in front of a sunny sky.

Image source: Getty Images

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

To qualify for unemployment in Idaho, you must meet specific requirements related to your work history and the reason for your termination. These are the basic requirements you must fulfill:

  • You must have earned wages at a job during at least two quarters of your applicable base period. Your base period is the first four quarters of the five most recent calendar quarters. So if you’re filing in March 2020, your base period would be October 2018 through September 2019. If you’re filing in April 2020, your base period would be January through December 2019.
  • Your wages must have added up to at least $1,872 during at least one quarter in your base period.
  • The total wages you earned during your base period must add up to at least 1.25 times the wages earned in your highest quarter during the base period. 
  • You must be out of work through no fault of your own.
  • You must be available for work.
  • You must be actively seeking work. 

If you are laid off temporarily due to coronavirus and your employer expects you to return to work within 16 weeks, work search requirements are waived. However, you still must be available to work, so you cannot get benefits if you've been told you must stay home because you have COVID-19. 

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

You can apply online for unemployment benefits at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal. Idaho does not accept claims via phone. While you normally can visit an Idaho Department of Labor office if you need help with your application, these offices are temporarily closed. 

To file your claim, you will need:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your driver's license
  • Your Alien Registration card and number if you aren't a citizen
  • The name, telephone number, and full addresses of all companies you've worked for during the past two years
  • Your start and end dates of employment for each employer
  • The total gross earnings you received from each employer
  • Details about why you stopped working for each of your employers over the past two years
  • A DD Form 214 if you were released from active duty military service over the past two years
  • Information on the county you live in if you aren't located within the state of Idaho

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits?

Your weekly benefit amount in Idaho is based on earnings reported by your employers. Wages from other states, wages paid while you're in the military, and income earned as a federal employee all count towards determining your wages.

When you submit your application for benefits, you'll receive a form showing all employers that reported wages during the base period. This form is called your Monetary Determination form. The form will show both your weekly benefit amount as well as the total benefit amount you're entitled to receive while collecting unemployment.

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?

When you file an unemployment claim, it's set up for a 52-week period. However, if you draw a full benefit every week, you'll run out of money you're entitled to and will not receive 52 weeks of benefits. 

To determine the number of weeks of benefits you actually get, Idaho uses a formula that takes your wages and the state's unemployment rate into account. If you had consistent wages during your base period and/or if the unemployment rate is high, you will be awarded more weeks of full entitlement. 

However, for every worker, the number of weeks of full entitlement is between 10 and 20 weeks. So if you draw a full weekly benefit, the maximum you could receive benefits for is 20 weeks. 

Keep in mind that the CARES Act extends your benefit period by 13 weeks.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If your claim is denied, you can file a written appeal to request a hearing. You'll need to submit your appeal in writing, identify the determination that is being appealed, and sign the appeal.  You don't need to use a specific form to appeal but you do have the option to use the Request for Appeals Hearing Form, which you can find online or obtain by calling (208) 332-3572.

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