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Personal Eligibility Requirements


If I am monetarily eligible (I have the required wages in my base period), will I receive benefits?

Not necessarily. Being monetarily eligible means only that you have sufficient qualifying wages to establish a claim. We must also determine if you meet all the personal eligibility requirements. Like other types of insurance, the unemployment insurance program requires that you meet certain conditions before qualifying to receive payment. To qualify, you must meet both personal and monetary eligibility requirements.

» Read more about monetary eligibility requirements

What are some of the reasons I could be denied benefits?

Each week you claim, you must do certain things to receive a payment. You must be ready, willing and able to take any offer of suitable work. To be eligible, you must be:

  • ABLE TO WORK: You must be physically able to work full time.

    Tell us if you cannot work because of illness, injury or some other physical or mental condition. Most health problems will not affect your claim as long as you are looking for the type of full-time work you can do.

    You may be disqualified if you have to refuse work due to illness.

  • AVAILABLE FOR WORK: You must be ready to go to work.

    You cannot place unrealistic personal restrictions on such things as the hours you will work, the pay you will accept, locations you prefer to work and jobs you will take. You must be willing and able to accept both full-time and part-time work in jobs you can do during all the usual hours and days these jobs are done. Limiting shifts, days or distance you will travel to work can make you ineligible.

    Availability for work is very important. For example, you must have child care arranged, a way to get to work and no other personal commitments that prevent you from accepting a job.

  • ACTIVELY SEEKING WORK: You must try to find full-time work each week in accordance with the work-seeking requirements you received when you filed your claim. This applies even if you are working part time. You must be willing to accept part-time work while waiting for full-time work to become available.

    Actively seeking work means you must personally contact employers who hire people with your job skills. If you cannot find your normal kind of work, you must look for any other kind of work you can do. You must expand your work search and avoid recontacting the same employer every week. As your period of unemployment lengthens you may be required to look for another kind of work, accept a lower pay or search in other locations for a job.

    The local office can help you find work. Ask us how or go online at labor.idaho.gov and click on “Search for a Job.”

    You MUST keep a personal record of your job contacts. This must include the employer name, address, phone number, person contacted, date of contact and the results of the job contact. We may ask you to provide your work-search record (in person or online) to verify your contacts. Keep looking for work as long as you are unemployed.

    If the Idaho Department of Labor offers you a job referral for suitable work, you may be denied benefits if you refuse to accept the referral or fail to make contact with the employer.

    If you are job attached, you must maintain contact with your employer and return as soon as work becomes available. If you have not been required to make work search contacts because you have a date to return to work or you obtain work through a union, you must notify us if these conditions no longer apply.

  • OUT OF WORK THROUGH NO FAULT OF YOUR OWN: You must have been laid off due to lack of work, voluntarily quit with good cause connected with the employment or been discharged but not for misconduct. If your reason for separation is other than lack of work, a written determination regarding your eligibility will be issued to you.

Can I quit my job and collect unemployment insurance benefits?

The general rule is that a person who voluntarily leaves suitable work without good cause, attributable to the employment, is not eligible for benefits.

For good cause to be attributable to the employment, it must relate to the wages, hours or working conditions of the job. A change in conditions created by your employer or a breach of your employment agreement which is substantial and adversely affects you may be good cause to quit. Also, if the job itself adversely affects your health or aggravates or worsens a medical condition, it could be good cause to quit. Medical documentation may be required.

Regardless of the cause, in most cases, good cause attributable to the employment may only be found if you took reasonable steps to inform your employer of your dissatisfaction and sought to remedy the problem before you left. If you quit, you must prove that you had good cause for leaving.

I was just fired. Can I collect unemployment insurance benefits?

If you are fired, you may be disqualified for benefits if the employer can prove you were discharged for work-related misconduct. If you are discharged, the employer must prove there was misconduct.

Does pregnancy affect my eligibility?

Pregnant claimants are eligible for benefits according to the same rules that apply to all other claimants. If you are ready, willing and able to work, and are actively searching for full-time work, your pregnancy has no bearing on your collecting benefits.

Can I attend school or training and receive unemployment insurance benefits?

If your schooling or training does not interfere with your availability for full-time work, you may be able to collect benefits. You may also qualify if your schooling or training is funded by WIA, TAA/NAFTA, or is Director approved. Contact your nearest local office for information regarding these programs.

What must I do to be eligible each week?

First, you must file your weekly report. You must be working less than full time, physically and mentally able to work, available for work and actively seeking full-time work. You must be willing and able to work all of the days and hours normal for the type of work you are seeking. You must remain in your area unless you are seeking work elsewhere.

If I am receiving benefits, what could stop or deny them?

Situations arise that require the Idaho Department of Labor to stop payment while investigating claims and issue decisions that may deny benefits. Some of the circumstances under which your claim for benefits may be denied are explained below:

  • You quit a job without good cause connected to your job.
  • You were discharged from a job because of employment-related misconduct.
  • You miss or refuse suitable work. You will be disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits if you refuse without good cause to take a job for which you are qualified and which pays the prevailing wage for that kind of work in the locality.
  • You are unable to work. If you are not physically or mentally capable of employment, you will not be paid benefits until you can establish that you are again able to work and are making diligent efforts to find a job.
  • You leave the local labor market. If you are not ready and available to take a job immediately, you will not be paid benefits until you can establish that you are again available for employment.
  • You attend school. If schooling interferes with your ability to seek or accept employment, you will not be paid benefits until you can establish that you are again available for employment and are able to work and are making diligent efforts to find a job.
  • You are incarcerated. You will not be paid benefits until you can establish that you are again available for employment and are able to work and are making diligent efforts to find a job.
  • You fail to seek work (see What is a valid work-search contact?).
  • You fail to provide requested information.
  • You make a false statement or withhold information to obtain benefits.
  • Self-employment becomes your principal occupation or interferes with your availability for work.

What are my work-search requirements?

Your obligation while receiving unemployment benefits is to become re-employed, and you should develop a realistic plan to achieve this objective. Unless otherwise specified in your work-search plan, you are required to make a good faith effort to seek full-time work each week that you claim benefits, even if you are employed part time. You must make at least two employment contacts per week.

You will be prompted to enter your work search contacts when you file your weekly report. You may want to use our work search log to help keep track of your weekly contacts. The contacts you list will be verified with the employers. Falsifying work-search contacts will result in a determination of fraud.

Valid work-search contacts:

  • Contacts must be for wage work
  • Self-employment or independent contract work contacts are not valid
  • The same employer(s) may not be used for required contacts in consecutive weeks
  • A contact may be made online, in person, by mail, email or over the phone
  • An online contact is only valid if it results in an online application being completed or a resume being submitted; simply searching websites such as careerbuilder.com or monster.com is not valid
  • All contacts must be made with a person who has hiring authority, and applications must be submitted where accepted
  • A friend or relative who works for the company you are applying for is not a valid contact

You may find our valid contacts FAQ helpful.

You also may be required to participate in an in-person interview with a workforce consultant at your local office. The interview is designed to help you return to work in the shortest time possible. The consultant may assist you with labor market information, resumes, and innovative ideas for seeking work. Failure to participate will result in your benefits being stopped.

Do I still have to look for work if I have a seasonal job?

It depends. To be considered as “job attached,” you must have a confirmed return-to-work date from your employer that falls within 12 weeks of your layoff or reduced hours. If your return-to-work date is beyond 12 weeks, you must look for new full-time work to remain eligible for benefits. We aren’t saying you can’t go back to work for your previous employer, but you are required to seek work while you are seasonally laid off. It could be in an occupation that tends to employ during a season opposite of your other occupation – for example, a landscaper in the summer might work at the local ski resort during the winter.

If I was denied, how do I requalify?

A denial may be imposed if: Requalification may occur if:
You left work without good cause connected with your employment, were discharged for work-related misconduct or refused suitable work or a referral to suitable work. You return to work and earn at least 14 times your weekly benefit amount and become unemployed again through no fault of your own.
You are not able to work, are not available for work or are not actively seeking full-time work. You are able to be easily reached for referral to jobs, and you are willing to work part time while you continue to look for full-time work. You must have adequate transportation and have personal circumstances arranged so nothing will prevent your accepting suitable work. You must not place undue restrictions on your availability for work, such as demanding higher pay than is normal for the area. This is a week-to-week denial. It ends when you notify Idaho Department of Labor staff you are again able to work, available for work and actively seeking work.
You are self-employed as your principal occupation. Your principal occupation is no longer self-employment.
You are unemployed due to a strike in which you are actively involved. Your unemployment is no longer due to a strike.
You fail to contact an Idaho Department of Labor office when directed to do so. You contact the office and take care of the issues causing the denial. You will be denied for each week you fail to contact the office.
You fail to participate in re-employment eligibility assessments or assistance as required. You report as directed. You will be denied for each week you fail to participate in a planned re-employment event, interview or assessment.
You make false statements or withhold information in order to obtain benefits. You must repay any overpayment, and you will be disqualified from benefits for 52 weeks and until the resulting overpayment, penalty and interest are completely repaid to the Idaho Department of Labor.
You fail to look for work or fail to provide us with a record of your work search when requested to do so. You resume a legitimate work search or provide the requested work-search record. You will be denied benefits for each week you fail to meet your work-seeking requirements or fail to provide us with your work-search record.

I was denied benefits for a job separation. Can I use earnings from self-employment to satisfy that disqualification and requalify for benefits in the future?

If you lose your job and unemployment benefits are denied because you were separated for cause or because you refused another job, you must build a new earnings record to qualify for benefits in the future, and usually self-employment can be used to requalify. You must provide proof of the income earned from self-employment. During Extended Benefits, the wages used to requalify from a benefit denial must be earned in an employer-employee relationship.



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