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Monetary Eligibility Requirements

What are Idaho’s unemployment monetary requirements?

  • You must have sufficient earnings in the base period
  • You must have worked and been paid wages for employment in at least two of the quarters in the base period
    • AND have been paid at least $1,872 in wages in one of those quarters
    • AND the total wages paid in your base period must equal one and a quarter times your highest quarter wages

What is a base period?

The base period is the four quarters of earnings that are used to determine how much unemployment you qualify for.

Idaho Department of Labor uses a regular base period of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. If you do not qualify using the regular base period, you may qualify using the alternate base period of the last four completed calendar quarters.

How is my weekly benefit amount determined?

The amount you receive for unemployment is based on your past earnings reported to us by employers that you have worked for in Idaho. We can use wages from other states, from work done as a federal employee and if you were active duty in the military (with some restrictions). We use the wages you earned in a period of time that we call your base period.

Can I protest my weekly benefit amount?

When you apply for benefits, you will receive a form called a Monetary Determination. This form shows your base period, the employers who reported wages to us during the base period, and the amounts they reported were paid in each quarter used to calculate your benefit amount. It will also show your weekly benefit amount and the total amount you may draw during your benefit year.

If these wages qualify you for benefits, that statement will also show your weekly benefit amount and your total benefit amount. Your weekly benefit amount is the full amount you may receive for one week of unemployment. Your total benefit amount is the maximum amount you may collect during the 52 weeks of your claim.

Study these earnings carefully as you are responsible for the information listed. If you think that any of the information is wrong, you must contact us at (208) 332-8942 within 14 days from the mailing date of the Monetary Determination. You should be prepared to show some kind of proof as to why the amounts shown are wrong, or proof that an employer you worked for does not show up on the Monetary Determination. Gather your check stubs, W-2 statements, pay slips or other documentation.

We will investigate and possibly contact the employers you worked for to try and find out what the correct amounts are. You will receive a Monetary Re-Determination after we complete the investigation. If your monetary entitlement increases at a later date, of after you have stopped claiming, additional monies will be credited to your debit card or direct deposit account.

Important note: Continue to file on your claim while waiting for your monetary redetermination.

How many weeks can I collect unemployment insurance benefits?

The law has a formula for calculating how many weeks of unemployment insurance benefits you may qualify for on your claim. The number of weeks of full entitlement you can receive will vary between 10 weeks at a minimum and 26 weeks at a maximum. The maximum amount of weeks is dependent on the unemployment insurance rate and is calculated every three months. The formula is a ratio of your total base period wages divided by your highest base period quarter.

Basically, the person who earns a consistent wage in each quarter in the base period is awarded more weeks of unemployment. A person who has periods in the base period where they did not work as much, or earned much more than the other quarters will have their number of weeks reduced because of the ratio formula. In some instances, a person who earns substantially more in one quarter than in the three remaining quarters may not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. This situation is referred to as high quarter.

When you file a claim for unemployment, it is set up for a 52-week period. If you draw a full weekly benefit amount each week, you will run out of money in the number of weeks that you are entitled to. You can work and draw unemployment.

See Can I work and still collect unemployment insurance benefits? for more information.

If you work part-time and are not able to find a full-time job, your unemployment benefits may last the entire 52 weeks. It just depends on what rate you draw those benefits out.

What is a benefit year?

The period of 52 consecutive weeks beginning with Sunday of the week in which an individual applies for a new valid claim for benefits. A subsequent benefit year cannot be established in Idaho until the expiration of the current benefit year.

Can I use wages I earned in another state, the military or the Federal Government?

Yes. When you file a claim, report all employers you performed work for, including those in any other state, in the past two years and employment from military and federal employers. Provide complete addresses and dates of employment.

We will request wage information from another state, the military or federal government and combine those wages with any other wages you have earned during the base period in order to calculate your weekly unemployment insurance benefit amount.

What if I work for a school system?

Employees of educational institutions are not eligible for benefits based on such employment when a claim is filed between academic years or terms and during customary vacation or holiday recesses, if they have reasonable assurance of returning to that type of employment in the period immediately following the vacation period or holiday recess.

If you are a non-professional school district employee and are denied benefits or your benefits are reduced between academic years or terms and later you were not offered an opportunity to perform services for the educational institution, and you continued to certify for benefits, you may be eligible for retroactive payments of benefits. You must make the request for retroactive payment of benefits within 30 days of the start of the academic year or term.

If you have sufficient earnings with employers other than educational institutions, you may be eligible for benefits based on the other employment even while you are between academic years or terms.

Does receiving Social Security affect my benefits?

In Idaho, there is no reduction of your unemployment benefits because you collect Social Security. You must be available for work and looking for work with no restrictions just as all other claimants.

Does receiving a pension affect my benefits?

If you have actually retired and are not seeking employment, you are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. Also, if you quit your most recent job to retire, you may not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits until you work again and earn at least 14 times your weekly benefit amount and then become unemployed through no fault of your own.

However, if you are retired and are actively seeking full time work, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits under the same conditions as all other unemployed workers.

Your weekly benefit amount may be reduced, however, if you receive a pension from an employer for whom you worked in the 18 months before you filed your claim and you did not contribute to the pension. The reduction will be the weekly equivalent of your pension. If you made any contribution to the pension, there will be no reduction.

Can I work and still collect unemployment insurance benefits?

If you work less than full-time during a calendar week, you can collect unemployment benefits for that week as long as your gross earnings are not equal to or greater than 1 1/2 times your weekly benefit amount. If you earn less than 1/2 of your weekly benefit amount, there will be no reduction in your unemployment insurance check. If you earn between 1/2 your weekly benefit amount and 1 1/2 times your weekly benefit amount, a dollar for dollar reduction will occur on your unemployment insurance benefit check.

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