What are Idaho’s unemployment monetary requirements?

You meet Idaho’s monetary requirements if:

  • You have earned enough in the base period
  • You have earned wages in at least 2 of the quarters in the base period.
  • You have been paid at least $1,872 in wages in one of those quarters.
  • Your total wages in your base period equals 1.25 times your highest quarter wages.

What is a base period?

A base period is your wages from 4 quarters of a calendar year. The money you earn in these quarters decides your weekly benefit amount.

We will first try to qualify you using a regular base period. You may also qualify with an alternative base period.

  • Regular base period: Your wage information from the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters.
  • Alternative base period: Your wage information from the last 4 completed calendar quarters.

How is my weekly benefit amount determined?

Your weekly benefit amount is based on your wages as reported by Idaho employers. We use the wages you earned in the timeframe known as your base period. Other wages that affect your benefit amount include:

  • Wages from other states.
  • Wages as a federal employee.
  • Wages from active duty in the military (with some exceptions).

Can I protest my weekly benefit amount?

Yes. You have 14 days from the mailing date of your Monetary Determination to protest your weekly benefit amount.

When you apply for benefits, you will be mailed a form called a Monetary Determination. If your wages qualify you for benefits, this form will show:

  • Your base period.
  • The employers who reported paying you wages during the base period.
  • Your wages reported in each quarter of your base period.
  • Your weekly benefit amount, or the full amount you may draw for an eligible week.
  • The total benefit amount you may draw during the 52-week benefit year.

Sometimes there are mistakes on wage amounts or employers listed in a Monetary Determination. You are responsible for checking and correcting this information.

If you think there is a mistake on your Monetary Determination, take the following steps:
  1. Gather proof of your correct information (check stubs, W-2s, pay slips).
  2. Call us within 14 days of the mailing date at (208) 332-8942.
  3. File weekly certifications while we investigate.

Important note: File your weekly certifications while waiting for your Monetary Re-Determination. If you don’t file, all payments may be delayed.

We may contact your former employers to check wage information. When the investigation is done, you will be mailed a Monetary Re-Determination. If your weekly or total benefit amount increases, your account will be credited the difference.

How many weeks can I collect benefits?

You may be eligible to collect between 10 and 26 weeks of UI benefits. A legal formula decides how many weeks you can draw benefits.

This formula starts with your total base period wages divided by your highest base period quarter. This number is your ratio, which is then compared to the state’s unemployment rate, calculated every 3 months. Your ratio and the Idaho unemployment rate decide the maximum number of weeks you can draw benefits.

The formula rewards those who earn consistent wages. For example, a person who earns more in a quarter than they earn in others will have a lower number of benefit weeks. If you earn a lot more in one quarter than the other 3, you may not be eligible for UI benefits at all. This is known as high quarter.

Benefits may be collected within a 52-week period called a benefit year. You may collect your full weekly benefit amount each eligible week until you run out or the benefit year ends.

You can also work and draw unemployment. If you work part-time and can’t find a full-time job, your benefits may last the entire 52 weeks. It just depends on what rate you draw your benefits.

» Read more about working and collecting UI benefits.

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?

A benefit year starts the Sunday following a valid claim application and ends 52 weeks later. You can’t start another benefit year in Idaho until the current one expires.

Can I use wages from another state, the military or federal government?

Yes. When you file a claim, report all your employers for the past 2 years, including:

  • Employers in other states.
  • Military employers.
  • Federal employers.

You must provide complete addresses and dates of employment for all your employers. Then your other state, military or federal wages will be combined with any other wages you earned during the base period. All wages from your base period will be used to calculate your weekly benefit amount.

What if I work for a school system?

There are some unique rules for claiming UI benefits as an employee of a school system. These rules are:

  1. You can’t get benefits between academic years, for vacation periods or for holiday recess if you are expected to return to work.
  2. You may be eligible for retroactive benefit payments if:
    • You filed weekly certifications between academic years or terms.
    • You couldn’t return to work.
    • You asked for retroactive payments within 30 days of the start of the year or term.
  3. You may be eligible for benefits even between years or terms if you earned enough from non-educational institutions.

Does receiving Social Security affect my benefits?

No. Social Security doesn’t reduce your Idaho unemployment benefits. You can collect UI benefits and Social Security if you are able, available and actively looking for work.

Does receiving a pension affect my benefits?

Yes. If you are retired, you won’t be eligible for benefits except in some cases. If you are eligible for benefits and get a pension from an employer in your base period, the weekly amount of your pension will be subtracted from your weekly benefit payment — unless you contributed to your pension.

If you quit your last job to retire, you must become eligible for UI. You must work, earn at least 14 times your weekly benefit amount and become unemployed again through no fault of your own. You may be eligible for benefits if you are retired and seeking full-time work.

Can I work and still collect benefits?

Yes. You can earn up to half of your weekly benefit amount in a week without reducing your UI benefits. Once you earn more than half, your benefits will be reduced by a dollar for every dollar over half your weekly benefit amount.

Your benefits will be reduced by your earnings until you make 1.5 times your benefit amount. If you make this much or work full time in a week, you won’t be eligible for UI that week.

Examples: Your weekly benefit amount is $100, and you earn $85 for the week. Because you earned $35 over one-half of your weekly benefit, you will get a payment for $65 ($100-$35). The next week, you earn $150. You won’t receive a payment for the week

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