DLI surpasses $1B in unemployment benefits to Montanans since the start of pandemic

Montana Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) Acting Commissioner Brenda Nordlund announced today that the agency has distributed over $1 billion in Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to over 107,000 Montanans since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This astonishing sum of money has provided immense relief to impacted workers and their families during this pandemic,” Nordlund said. “And beyond individual household impacts, these unemployment benefit dollars have resounded throughout Montana’s economy, allowing continued support of local businesses and helping mitigate further job losses across our state.”

From March 12 to October 16, DLI has issued a total of $1.01 billion in benefits. The economic activity generated from these benefits translates to roughly 4% of Montana’s Gross Domestic Product and replaces an estimated 5% of wage earnings statewide that would have been paid this year. For comparison, over the same period in 2019, DLI issued $48M in total benefits.

“Every $1 distributed in unemployment benefits creates $1.90 in economic impact, meaning that the $1 billion in unemployment benefits generated nearly $2 billion in economic output for Montana’s economy, creating demand for Montana-made products and services,” DLI Chief Economist Barbara Wagner said.

A breakdown of funding sources is detailed below:

  • Seventy percent of the total, or over $700 million, was distributed through federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act programs,
  • Twenty-four percent, or $243 million, came from traditional state unemployment benefits.
  • The remaining 6% of payments, or $64 million, were issued through the six-week federal Lost Wage Assistance program, 75% of which were funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and 25% from state-level Coronavirus Relief Funds.
  • Eighty-four percent of the CARES Act federal dollars, or $592 million, were due to the additional weekly $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payment that ended in July.

DLI has adjusted resources to account for the increase in claims due to the pandemic. To ensure eligible Montanans receive payments as quickly as possible, the claimant work search and waiting week requirements remain waived.

Since March, the Department has prevented over $360 million in fraudulent UI payments, ensuring unemployment funds go to eligible claimants and boost Montana’s economy.

DLI continues to encourage anyone who believes they may be eligible for UI to file a claim online at MontanaWorks.gov, or at mtpua.mt.gov for those that fall under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance eligibility guidelines. Those with technical, eligibility, or benefits questions are encouraged to view the COVID-19 resource website at dli.mt.gov/covid-19.

Back To Top