Montana Department of Labor & Industry today announced that
over 35,000 Unemployment Insurance (UI) payments were
distributed from March 23 through April
1, providing benefits to Montanans
that have lost their job, or have had to reduce work hours due to COVID-19.
number shows our ability to make adjustments to support our customer needs and
the expansion of UI eligibility moving forward,”
Acting Commissioner Brenda
“I want to encourage all Montanans with UI questions to first
visit our website as most questions can be answered by reviewing the wide range
of information posted on our COVID-19 resource guide. While our call volume is
high, there are still options for Montanans with UI questions.”
March 23 through April 1. DLI’s UI phone line received over 473,829 phone
unprecedented volume of calls has led to difficulties for some Montanans to
access answers to their specific questions. To help alleviate this level of
call volume, DLI has trained 70 Job Service and Employment Relations employees
to assist with commonly asked phone inquiries, including PIN resets, security
word, and job attachment questions. Additionally, DLI is in the process of
reassigning other current agency employees and bringing back retired staff
members with UI experience.
encouraging those with technical, eligibility, or benefits questions regarding
the UI claimant portal on MontanaWorks.gov to first view the COVID-19 resource
dli.mt.gov/employer-covid-19 before calling. There are multiple
FAQ documents that may be able to answer questions.
In addition, Montanans with access to computers
can apply for UI online at
MontanaWorks.gov to ensure that the phone lines are
open for people who have been specifically instructed to call DLI or for those
people who do not have internet access.
On Friday, federal lawmakers agreed
to a significant expansion of the nation’s unemployment insurance program. Once
Montana receives guidance from the U.S. Labor Department, DLI will work to
implement the CARES Act programs as quickly as possible.
“Help is on the way, and we are
working to implement the changes as soon as possible
,” said Nordlund. “We appreciate
people being patient as we work through the details with our federal partners.”
DLI is implementing programmatic
changes to the UI system to allow claims filed within the new eligibility
requirements under the new stimulus package, or CARES Act. Additional claimant
guidance on the package, and what it means for Montanans filing for UI
can be found here.
When guidance has been received,
funds made available and programming changes are complete, and DLI will be able
to process the applications, an announcement will be made by press release, on
dli.mt.gov, and social media.
In the meantime, laid-off workers
should apply for benefits at MontanaWorks.gov, even if they are not sure they
qualify. A tutorial on how users can apply for benefits on MontanaWorks is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEYaWXATES4&t=19s. New or enhanced payments will be backdated as
provided under the act.
DLI wants to remind the public that
the week a person becomes unemployed, that person should file an application
for unemployment benefits. Individuals should read the
and watch the instructional videos before they apply at