BOISE, Idaho — Some good news for Idahoans waiting to receive unemployment.
The Idaho Department of Labor says it has cleared about 85 percent of 42,000 pending claims and expects to work through the remaining 5,500 pending claims by mid-July.
‘We are on track in a week, or two weeks, to have the total backlog completed,” Gov. Brad Little said during an AARP telephone town hall on Tuesday.
The governor says the state has hired more call center agents to answer phones and assist people with their claims. A total of 120 Maximus agents are now assisting the Department of Labor staff.
The department says wait times have been greatly reduced and most phone calls are being answered.
The governor said the morning is the busy time for the call center. He said the wait in the afternoon is now usually less than 15 minutes. Wait times have significantly decreased as backlogs are reduced.
Idahoans should be on alert for fraudulent claims filed under their names. People who receive a claim notice from the department - but did not file a claim - should notify the department by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To date, the department says about 7,500 claims are pending awaiting verification for identification.
Laid-off Idaho workers filed 157,143 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the 14 weeks since the COVID-19 state of emergency declaration. That's 2.7 times the total number of initial claims filed in all of 2019 in just three months.
Total benefit payments attributed to COVID-19 layoffs reached $522 million as of June 20.
Claimants with pending issues will receive a call from a claim specialist.
People who need assistance with their claims should call (833) 410-1009.