BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Labor says they continue to work through weeks of record unemployment claims and appreciate Idahoans' patience.
“We are doing well, we still have a lot of people who are unable to reach us through the phones, and we know that is very difficult, but we are getting payments out the door,” Idaho Department of Labor spokesperson Leah Reeder said.
The Department of Labor knows it’s not easy, but they are working to speed up the process.
One example, they are now solely making call-backs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“Rather than taking phone calls, we have everybody working on issues and making outbound calls," Reeder said. "Just trying to get as many claims cleared as possible. Last Friday during that time we were able to clear 1,000 issues, so we are chipping away at it.”
A common frustration with unemployment claims is the, "pending issue stopping payment" notice on some claims. Many people wonder what that means exactly.
The answer, according to Reeder, is every case is different.
“It could be something very easy, perhaps they forgot to enter a work history on their application, or maybe they entered their driver's license information incorrectly," she said. "So, they are welcome to go onto the claimant portal and just check their profile information make sure it all looks okay.
“Once all the issues are cleared and if someone is allowed benefits, they will be paid retroactively for all those continued claims they filed,” Reeder added.
Some issues are more complicated though and require an investigation. In some cases that involves the department verifying information with former employers, which can take even more time. If you are eligible though, you will be paid.
The Department of Labor wants to reiterate, if you have a pending issue stopping payment, do not call the unemployment line, they will call you.
“If the claimant does have a pending issue we are working as quickly as we can and they don’t need to call us because if they call us, more than likely we are not going to be able to clear the issue, we will have to wait for an adjudicator to reach out to them," Reeder said. "So rather than calling us, we would like them to make sure they are available from 3 to 6 p.m."
If you have to call for a different issue, Reeder suggests avoiding busy times, particularly on Mondays or during lunch hours.
Claims are taken on as they roll in. The department has seen some good news recently on that front.
“We did see a decrease in weekly certifications, so we are hoping that it is an indication that people are going back to work,” Reeder said.
“It is important that when they are back to full time, they do not continue to file those weekly reports," she added. "Even if they are not going to get a paycheck for a few weeks, if they are back full time, they don’t want to file that weekly report.”
Reeder tells KTVB she understands that the priority for most is to get their unemployment check. The labor department does, however, have resources in other areas.
Many organizations regionally and statewide are providing services to people in need during this time of uncertainty, including food, shelter, medical, dental and mental health care, child care, and more. A list of these organizations can be found here.
If you need help actively seeking work or finding a job, visit IdahoWorks or call your nearest local office. You may also qualify for additional assistance through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
Residents in Ada and Canyon County looking for rental assistance can reach out to Jesse Tree of Idaho.
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