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Leaving Idaho for spring break? Unemployment recipients may want to stay

According to Idaho law, people receiving unemployment benefits must continue searching for employment and be available for work in their local labor market.

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Dept. of Labor (IDL) is encouraging those receiving unemployment benefits to remain in the state as spring break arrives. Those traveling outside of Idaho risk losing their weekly payments, according to Idaho law.

The latest unemployment data from January 2021 reported the state unemployment rate was 3.4%. During the week of March 14-20, IDL received nearly 28,000 claims for unemployment benefits.

Whether an initial or continuous claim, it is imperative those receiving benefits do not leave the state.

An Idaho woman traveled to California in February due to the passing of a family member. She stayed in California for weeks making arrangements regarding the death of her loved one. During that time, she was not able to collect the unemployment benefits she had received for nearly a year.

The IDL website states that in order to qualify for benefits, people must remain in the area unless they are looking for a job in another area. 

Benefits could be withheld if a recipient leaves the state. According to IDL, Idahoans need to be available to immediately begin working in the state and will not receive any benefits until they can establish they are in their own area looking for work and are able to work.

In a statement, an IDL spokesperson said:

According to Idaho law, people who are out of work and wish to receive unemployment insurance benefits must look for a job and remain able and available for suitable work. This includes remaining in the state where they live and within their local labor market. 

There are instances where someone receiving benefits can leave the area for personal and compelling reasons - which includes the loss of or funeral of a family member - but only for a limited time.* When they file their weekly claim, people who leave the area must also tell us whenever they travel 100 miles outside of their labor market area for any part of a workweek. If they fail to do so or remain out of the area for too long, they may be required to pay back any benefits they received during that timeframe, including penalties and interest."

"A limited time" is defined as a minor portion of the workweek or a time period representing less than half of a recipient's weekly benefit amount.

There is an opportunity for individuals to appeal a denial from the department. They need to submit their handwritten appeal to the department within 14 days of finding out the claim for benefits has been denied.

Once the appeal has been filed, the Appeals Bureau will gather the appropriate documents, and a notice of a telephone hearing will be mailed to show the date and time of the hearing to the claimant.

Following the hearing, a written decision will be mailed to all interested parties, typically within ten business days of the hearing.

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