Idaho Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • Prepare for your unemployment application by reviewing Idaho's eligibility rules. Find out how the program works and how much you can receive each week.

If you're thinking about claiming unemployment benefits in Idaho, you're not alone — thousands of people use the state's unemployment insurance every month. The program, which is funded entirely by employer taxes, provides a weekly benefit payment while you're out of work.

Every state runs its own unemployment system; in Idaho, the Idaho Department of Labor (IDOL) sets the eligibility rules and benefit limits.

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Idaho?

In Idaho, the unemployment program uses a set of monetary and non-monetary eligibility requirements. Once you file, you'll need to continue to prove that you're eligible.

Work Status

Idaho unemployment benefits aren't limited to in-state residents. You can make a claim if you worked for an Idaho employer that paid unemployment insurance tax in the past 12-18 months. 

You must also be:

  • Unemployed (totally or partially)
  • Available and able to perform full-time work
  • Willing to search for a new job
  • Legally allowed to work in the United States

When reviewing claims, the state will also consider the reason you're unemployed. It must be through no fault of your own, which typically means that you were laid off. Did you quit or get fired from your last job? Apply anyway; depending on the reason, you may still be eligible for unemployment. IDOL will reach out to you and the employer to get more information before making a decision.

Monetary Entitlement

To collect unemployment in Idaho, you must prove monetary entitlement. In other words, you'll need to show that you meet the income requirements. In your base period, you must have:

  • Earned wages in two or more quarters
  • Made at least $1,872 in one or more quarters
  • Brought in a total income that's at least 1.5 times your wages in the quarter with the highest earnings

A base period is the 12-month stretch of time that IDOL uses to evaluate your income. It's measured in 3-month quarters:

  • Quarter 1: January-March
  • Quarter 2: April-June
  • Quarter 3: July-September
  • Quarter 4: October-December

The standard base period is the first four of the last five complete quarters. If your income didn't hit the minimum threshold, IDOL will check the alternate base period, which is the last four complete quarters.

For example, If you made an unemployment claim in February 2022, the two base periods would be:

  • Standard: October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2021
  • Alternate: January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021

How Do You Maintain Eligibility for Unemployment in Idaho?

While you're receiving benefits from the Idaho unemployment program, you'll need to do two things: file weekly claims and conduct a job search.

After you open the initial unemployment claim, Idaho requires you to start filing weekly certifications — even if you haven't started receiving payments. The certification process involves:

  • Reporting earnings
  • Answering questions about your availability and ability to work
  • Logging job search contacts

In addition to the certifications, you must actively look for a new full-time job. According to Idaho rules, you'll need to complete and log at least two related activities or employer contacts every week. Acceptable actions include:

  • Completing an application or submitting a resume
  • Interviewing for a job
  • Attending a job fair
  • Signing up with a recruiter, placement service, temp agency or headhunter
  • Participating in a pre-employment activity, such as a skills test or a drug test
  • Networking 
  • Going to trainings and workshops sponsored by IDOL

How Do You Apply for Idaho Unemployment Benefits?

Before you start a claim, it's a good idea to collect the required documentation:

  • Driver's license or other state ID
  • Social Security number
  • Work history, including employer details and dates
  • Income information
  • Alien registration card, if applicable
  • Military separation forms, if you served within the past 2 years

When you're ready to proceed, follow these steps to submit an unemployment claim:

  1. Create an account through the Department of Labor's Claimant Portal.
  2. Log into your account, and submit an application; you can also apply in person at the closest Idaho Department of Labor office. Idaho does not allow you to file by phone, fax or mail.
  3. Register with IdahoWorks. If you're not an Idaho resident, you must register with your state's Department of Labor.
  4. File your weekly claims in the "Manage Claims" section of your Claimant Portal.

It can take 2-3 weeks to start receiving benefits, particularly if IDOL needs to contact your past employer. Once you're deemed eligible, you'll be paid for the initial weeks. Back payments do not include the waiting week, which starts the day you file your claim.

How Much Do You Get From Idaho Unemployment?

Your unemployment benefits will vary based on your income. To get the weekly benefit amount, find your income from the highest-earning quarter in the base period and divide it by 26. The benefit is capped at 60% of Idaho's current average wage.

In Idaho, you can typically receive unemployment benefits for 10-26 weeks. The state calculates your benefit weeks by dividing your income in the base period by the amount you made in the highest-earning quarter. This creates a ratio that corresponds to a set number of weeks. By using a ratio, the system ensures that people who work regularly can get more benefits than people who work sporadically.

All this information is available on the Monetary Determination form, which will arrive after your claim is processed.

What Can Reduce Your Weekly Unemployment Benefit?

The weekly benefit formula calculates the maximum amount you can get each week. However, your final amount may be different because of deductions for:

  • Income you earn while unemployed
  • Income from a pension
  • Court-ordered child support
  • Voluntarily withheld taxes

Part-time income doesn't affect your weekly payment until it reaches half your benefit amount. From that point on, the state will start deducting all additional dollars from the benefit. If you bring in 1.5 times the benefit amount, you won't get a payment that week.

What Happens If Unemployment Claims in Idaho Are Denied?

If your unemployment claim is denied or if something looks wrong on your Monetary Determination, you can appeal within 14 days. All appeals must be in writing; hand-deliver, mail or fax them to the Appeals Bureau address on the form. They must:

  • Identify what you're appealing
  • Request a hearing
  • Include your signature

After processing your request, which can take up to 2 months, the Appeals Bureau will mail you a Notice of Telephone Hearing. This is your chance to present testimony, offer evidence and bring witnesses. 

Within 10 days, you'll get a written decision from the judge. If you don't agree, you have 14 days to appeal to the Idaho Industrial Commission.

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