State Claims Volume:
The Idaho Department of Labor adjusted their phone schedule. From 8am to 4pm MST, the state will accept incoming calls. From 4pm to 6pm MST, the state will process unemployment claims. Additionally, the state advised that staff will be reassigned to help process claims and will hire 12 or more claims specialists to assist with the claim volume. The schedule and additional claims specialists will help to free up time for staff to return phone calls, resolve issues that might benefit payment, and process claims as quickly as possible.
Over the last 3 weeks, the state issued 77,430 payments for a total of $17.95 million to more than 30,546 individuals whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19 over the last three weeks.
Individuals do not need to call the state in order to file a claim for benefits and can access the claimant portal via cell phones and tablets too. Common questions can be found at the state’s FAQ page at https://idahoatwork.com/2020/03/18/faqs-about-unemployment-insurance-and-covid-19/.
The CARES Act:
The Idaho Department of Labor advised that the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUAC) benefit payments should be available to individuals by the end of April 2020. Individuals who are currently filing or receiving benefits under the state’s regular unemployment program already qualify for the additional $600 and do not need to take further action. The benefits will retroactively begin on March 29, 2020 and ends with the week of July 25, 2020.
However, the state also stated that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will take a little more time to implement within their current unemployment insurance program. PUA would grant benefits to those that are self-employed, contract employees, and others not ordinarily eligible for benefits. This new program requires that the state make significant system upgrades to process payments and state officials expect it will be May 2020 before payments occur for these types of individuals. The state also expects more guidance from the Department of Labor before it can fully administer the benefits, which is retroactive to February 2, 2020, and ends December 26, 2020.
More information about the CARES Act can be found on the state’s COVID-19 website: https://idahoatwork.com/2020/03/18/faqs-about-unemployment-insurance-and-covid-19/.
Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at http://covid19.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.
Please reach out to your representative with any questions.