COVID-19 Resources for Employees

We are committed to keeping employees informed about the latest developments regarding COVID-19. We are updating this page regularly to reflect the questions we are receiving. This information is intended as general information only and does not carry the force of legal opinion.


Important Notice: Effective June 27, 2021, significant changes will be coming to the State of Montana's Unemployment Insurance program that may impact your eligibility or benefits.  More Information About This Change 

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)

The Continued Assistance Act of 2020 created MEUC to supplement individuals who may have lost self-employment income, in addition to traditional wages, as a result of the pandemic. If eligible, an additional $100 could be added to your weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for weeks beginning 12/27/2020 through 06/27/2021.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be eligible for at least $1 in benefits based on wages from regular employment for weeks beginning 12/27/2020 through 06/27/2021, AND
  • Earned at least $5000 in net profit from self-employment during the most recent taxable year ending prior to the date you filed your current UI claim. Example: If you filed your claim in 2020, the self-employment profits must have been earned in 2019. If you are receiving either Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) or Extended Benefits (EB), refer to the effective date of your original UI claim.
  • The Continued Assistance Act of 2020 created Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) to supplement individuals who may have lost self-employment income, in addition to traditional wages, as a result of the pandemic. If eligible, an additional $100 could be added to your weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefits beginning 12/27/2020 through 06/27/2021. Last Updated 5/6/21
  • To qualify, you must be eligible for at least $1 in UI benefits based on wages from regular employment AND you must have earned at least $5000 in NET profit from self-employment during the most recent taxable year ending prior to the date you filed your current UI claim. Example: If you filed your UI claim in 2020, the self-employment profit must have been earned in 2019. If you are receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) or Extended Benefits (EB), you will refer to the effective date of your original UI claim. Last Updated 3/10/21
  • No. Those receiving unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program are not eligible for MEUC. Last Updated 3/10/21
  • Self-employment is the state of working for oneself rather than an employer. A self-employed person does not work for a specific employer who pays them a consistent salary or wage. You may be considered self-employed if any of the following apply to you:

    • You carry on a trade or business as sole proprietor or partner or independent contractor.
    • You are a member of a partnership that carries on a trade or business.
    • You are otherwise in business for yourself.

    Qualification for MEUC cannot be used to imply or infer independent contractor status for any purpose under Montana law.

    Last Updated 3/10/21
  • Your net profit would be on Line 31 of Schedule C of your tax return if you are a sole proprietor or line 14 of schedule K-1 if you filed as a partnership. Net profit is what your business earns after expenses and allowable deductions. To calculate net profit, take your gross income and subtract all your business expenses (marketing or advertising costs, travel or office expenses, tax payments, etc.) as well as any deductions you may be eligible for such as a home office space, retirement plan, or legal and professional fees. Last Updated 3/10/21
  • If you operate your business as a corporation or an LLC which reports as a s-corporation, you do not meet the definition of self-employment. You are considered an employee of the corporation and the wages you reported to UI are used in the calculation of your benefits. If you have not reported wages to UI for your corporation, contact UI Contributions at (406) 444-3834 (select option 1) to establish an account. Last Updated 3/10/21
  • Log into MontanaWorks.gov, access your unemployment claim, and select the button titled MEUC to initiate the application process. A form will be sent to you requesting documentation supporting your net profit from self-employment income. The form AND adequate documentation must be returned by the due date printed on the form. Late submissions may result in a loss of eligibility for MEUC. Last Updated 3/10/21
  • If available, you must provide a copy of your tax return for the respective year (the year ending prior to your claim effective date). If you filed as a sole proprietor, specifically include your schedule C from IRS Form 1040 or 1040-SR. If you filed as a partnership, include Form 1065 and schedule K-1. Submitting the appropriate forms from your tax return, may help expedite your eligibility determination. If you have not filed your tax return, you may provide copies of income statements, bank statements, ledgers, contracts, and/or invoices. The documentation provided must clearly and accurately reflect a net profit of at least $5,000. Last Updated 3/10/21
  • No. Once we determine you are eligible, the additional $100 will be automatically added to any week where you receive(d) at least $1 in unemployment benefits (except PUA) through week ending 06/27/2021. You will still need to file your weekly payment requests timely. Last Updated 3/10/21
  • Yes. If you were receiving qualifying UI benefits for weeks of unemployment beginning 12/27/20 through 06/27/2021 and the documentation you provide supports your eligibility, MEUC will be paid out for any of the qualifying weeks. Last Updated 3/10/21
  • Yes. If Congress continues to provide for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), you would receive that amount plus the additional $100 for MEUC. Example: If the FPUC amount is set at $300, you would receive $400 in addition to your calculated weekly UI benefit. Last Updated 3/10/21
  • Yes, they are. MEUC payments are also subject to child support withholdings and will count as income in Medicaid and CHIP eligibility. Last Updated 3/10/21
  • Call (406) 444-3834, select option 9. Please note: This phone line is dedicated to employers and those with questions regarding the MEUC program specifically. Representatives answering this line will NOT be able to answer inquiries regarding regular UI benefits or PUA. For UI claim related questions regarding anything other than MEUC, call (406) 444-2545 or (406) 444-3382 for PUA. Last Updated 3/10/21

General Unemployment Questions

Unemployment benefits provide temporary financial assistance to those who meet the eligibility requirements set by law. If your job has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive benefits. The Claimant Handbook sets forth your rights and responsibilities as a claimant.
  • I work two jobs. I will continue working the same number of hours at my primary job, but I was laid off from my other job. Can I file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits?

    An individual can file a claim for benefits at any time. If you are working 40 hours or more each week or earn twice your weekly benefit amount, you will not be eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits. Your eligibility for regular unemployment insurance benefits will be determined based upon information provided by both you and your former employer. You will receive notice of your eligibility either by mail or through your online claim. You can estimate potential weekly benefit amount using DLI’s Benefit Calculator.

    Last Updated 5/5/20
  • At present, the work search requirement is fulfilled if you maintain contact with your employer and if your unemployment is due to COVID-19. Work search requirements for non-COVID-19 claims are also temporarily waived. However, if you are recalled by your employer, you may lose your benefits if you do not return to work.

    NOTE: As of June 27, 2021, the work-search requirement for UI claimants will be reinstated. See the Claimant's Handbook for information on how to ensure compliance with the requirement. Last Updated 5/6/21
  • Where should I file my claim for unemployment benefits if I live in a different state than where my employer is located?

    Claims should generally be filed in the state where you performed the work. If you have questions about where to file your claim, contact the state unemployment insurance agency where you now live for more information.

    Last Updated 4/13/20
  • Though an employer may encourage or require an employee to telework, it has not been mandated they allow it. Resources addressing this are provided by the U.S. DOL. For your convenience links to these and state resources addressing similar issues are provided below.

     

    Last Updated 4/13/20
  • Your Weekly Benefit Amount is based on the wages reported during the base period of your claim, which is the first four of the last five quarters. Unemployment benefits are not a substitute for your wages. Unemployment benefits are designed to provide about 50% of your regular wages. You can estimate your weekly benefit amount using DLI's Unemployment Benefits Calculator.

    If you believe your wages have been reported incorrectly, email If you believe your wages have been reported incorrectly, email UIClaims@mt.gov, with the subject line: WBA. Include your name, claimant identification number, email address, and telephone number in the body of your email. List the employers you believe may be missing from your base period and the wages you are missing. Collect all wage information you may have and be prepared to submit that information if needed.

    Last Updated 5/5/20
  • You can request a redetermination online at MontanaWorks.gov, you will see that option when logged into your account. If you have already gone through the redetermination process, you can request an appeal with DLI’s Office of Administrative Hearings. Last Updated 5/5/20
  • You don’t have to do anything. Your claim will go inactive if you stop requesting payment for two consecutive weeks. Your claim will end at the end of your benefit year. Last Updated 4/13/20
  • Continue filing your weekly requests for payment. Payments are processed and issued within a few weeks of receiving a claim. If you have not received payment within 10 days, please email UIClaims@mt.gov, with the subject line: PAYMENT ISSUE. Include your name, individual claimant ID number, telephone number and email address, with a brief description of your issue, in the body of your email. Do not include your banking information or social security number. A claims center representative will contact you if further information is required. Last Updated 5/5/20
  • Email UIClaims@mt.gov ,with the subject line: RETURN TO WORK DATE. Include your name, claimant identification number, email address, telephone number, and employer’s name and contact information, as well as brief description of your issue, in the body of your email. A claims center representative will contact you if further information is required. Last Updated 5/5/20
  • Your employer may not directly or indirectly prevent you from filing a claim for unemployment benefits. Last Updated 4/17/20
  • My employer has paid my wages for weeks in which I requested UI benefits. Do I have to pay back my UI benefits?

    Yes. You must report all wages you received for weeks you requested unemployment benefits. If it is determined that you received UI benefits for weeks you were not eligible, an overpayment will be created that you will have to repay. Information on reporting hours and earnings can be found in the Claimant Handbook.

    Last Updated 5/7/20
  • My employer gave me a notice about UI benefits that says ex-military members must produce a Member Copy 4 of my DD214? I’ve not served in the military for several years. What should I do?

    If you separated from service before 2017, you do not have to submit Member Copy 4 of your DD214. DLI requires current military members to submit Member Copy 4 of the DD214, because it provides information about your rank, pay schedule and type of discharge.

    Last Updated 5/26/20
  • I’m waiting for an eligibility determination for regular UI benefits. Can I cancel that claim and get PUA benefits?

    No. DLI is required by state and federal law to first determine if you are eligible for regular UI benefits before a claim for PUA benefits can be processed.

    Last Updated 5/26/20
  • I’ve requested a redetermination or an appeal of DLI’s denial of my claim for regular UI benefits. How do I withdraw that request?

    Email UIClaims@mt.gov with WITHDRAW in the subject line. Include in your email your name, individual Claimant ID number, telephone number, issue ID number, and a brief description the issue and why you want to withdraw you request. A customer service representative will contact you if further information is needed.

    If you have gone through the redetermination process and you have filed an appeal, email DLIHearings@mt.gov with WITHDRAW in the subject line. Include your name, individual Claimant ID number, telephone number, issue ID number, and a brief description of the issue and why you want to withdraw your appeal. A representative with the Office of Administrative Hearings will contact you if further information is needed.

    Last Updated 5/26/20
  • How do I return benefit payments that I do not think I should have received due to my employer paying me wages through a Personal Payroll Protection loan or for other reasons?

    If you receive wages for weeks you have already received UI benefits, you need to report those wages when they are received. Please call the Claims Processing Center at (406) 444-2545. You can also fax your wage information to (406) 444-2699, or email UIClaims@mt.gov.

    If you wish to return benefit check(s) or repay benefits, you can mail the check(s), or a money order or personal check made out to DLI Overpayments Unit to:

    Unemployment Insurance Division
    Overpayments Unit
    PO Box 8020
    Helena, MT 59604-8020

    Be sure to include a statement that lists your name, individual Claimant ID, telephone number and what benefit weeks you’re wishing to repay. Remember UI benefit weeks begin Sunday and end Saturday. A customer service representative will contact you if further information is required.

    Last Updated 5/26/20
  • No. Claimants who have an administrative penalty are currently required to serve the penalty period. Administrative penalties are imposed when you did not provide important facts or correct information to get or to increase benefits. You may be disqualified from receiving benefits for up to 52 weeks. Page 16 of the Claimant Handbook provides more information about fraud and overpayments. However, you may be eligible for PUA benefits. More information on PUA benefits can be found on DLI’s Self-Employed, Independent Contractors & Others page. Last Updated 5/26/20

ID Verification & Fraud Prevention

DLI takes UI fraud very seriously and is committed to protecting the integrity of the UI program. All reports of suspected fraud are thoroughly reviewed and investigated. Those found to have committed UI fraud are subject to penalties, including criminal prosecution.
  • Identity theft is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable information, such as Social Security or driver's license numbers. Criminals use this information to impersonate someone else, usually for financial gain. Last Updated 6/11/20
  • Imposter fraud occurs when someone illegally files an unemployment claim using another person’s personal and employment information. Last Updated 6/11/20
  • DLI is diligently working to detect, prevent and reduce UI and imposter fraud while ensuring claims continue to be processed as quickly and accurately as possible. DLI works with other states and the federal government to cross-match data to detect fraud. DLI has also implemented additional security measures to spot and flag irregularities that indicate potential fraud.

    Montana has partnered with ID.me which is a free and secure method for claimants to identify themselves and validate personal information online. ID.me is used by federal agencies, private sector companies, and now a growing number of state unemployment insurance agencies, to reduce the risk of fraud in providing online services.

    According to the FBI, cybercrimes have increased 400% during the pandemic. Unemployment Insurance is one of the criminal targets. This partnership enables Montana to reduce unemployment fraud, protect your identity, and allows us to begin processing your claim.

    Last Updated 11/16/20

ID.me

ID.me is a free and secure method for claimants to identify themselves and validate personal information online. ID.me is used by federal agencies, private sector companies, and now a growing number of state unemployment insurance agencies, to reduce the risk of fraud in providing online services.
  • ID.me is a free and secure method for claimants to identify themselves and validate personal information online. ID.me is used by federal agencies, private sector companies, and now a growing number of state unemployment insurance agencies, to reduce the risk of fraud in providing online services.

    According to the FBI, cybercrimes have increased 400% during the pandemic. Unemployment Insurance is one of the criminal targets. This partnership enables Montana to reduce unemployment fraud, protect your identity, and allows us to begin processing your claim.

    Last Updated 11/16/20
  • Please visit Verifying my identity for Unemployment Insurance Last Updated 11/16/20
  • You will receive an email from ID.me when you have successfully completed the process. Last Updated 11/16/20
  • ID.me has partnered with several states to help verify that you are who you say you are when filing claims for unemployment insurance benefits. The partnership enables states to reduce the risk of fraud so they can pay you in a timely fashion. Our role is limited to identity verification. For information on how to file a claim, or benefits you may be entitled to, please contact your state's unemployment office, Department of Labor, or related agency.

    Please visit Is my information secure?

    Last Updated 11/16/20
  • If you do not have a mobile phone in your name, then ID.me supports a video chat-based method of identity proofing. As long as you can go into a video chat with a combination of approved documents like a driver's license, a voter registration card, and a health insurance card (full list of approved documents here: What is a Primary or Secondary Identification Document?) then you can verify your identity and proceed with your claim. Identity proofing is a one-time event, and can happen with your personal device, with a friend/family member who lends you their device, or at a public location with computers that have cameras and internet like a library. Last Updated 11/16/20
  • ID.me only shares personal information after getting the user's permission. You must click "allow" to share data with unemployment insurance to process your claim. If you select “allow”, ID.me will pass the attributes bulleted below to unemployment insurance:

    • Unique Identifier (UUID)
    • Full Name
    • Email Address
    • Phone Number
    • SSN
    • Date of Birth
    • Address
    • City
    • State
    • Postal Code
    Last Updated 11/16/20
  • Some people find out when they receive a letter from DLI they were not expecting or a letter requesting they verify their identity before benefits can be paid. Others find out when an employer notifies them that it has received notice the employee has applied for UI benefits. Last Updated 6/11/20
  • What should I do if I suspect someone has fraudulently established a claim for UI benefits using my personal information?

    Call the DLI Fraud Hotline at (406) 444-0072 or 1-888-556-4677 (toll-free). You can send your information electronically using ePass Montana, which is the most secure means of submitting personal information. You can fax your information to (406) 444-6651 or email it to DLIUIDCI@mt.gov. Include your name, email address, phone number, and a brief explanation as to why you suspect someone has fraudulently established a UI claim using your personal information. A customer service representative will contact you if further information is needed.

    Last Updated 6/11/20
  • What should I do if I suspect someone has fraudulently established a claim for PUA benefits using my personal information?

    If you receive a letter indicating a claim for PUA benefits has been filed using your personal information and you DID NOT file the claim, go to mtpua.mt.gov and click on Use a Letter ID to Report Identity Theft. There is a Letter ID and an Account ID or Claim ID in the upper right corner of the notice you received asking you to verify your identity. You will be required to enter the Letter ID and confirm it, before entering the Account ID or Claim ID. After clicking next, you will be asked for your contact information, so that the Department can contact you to investigate the matter.

    Last Updated 6/11/20
  • You can notify your financial institutions, the three major credit bureaus, and the Social Security office that you believe you are a victim of identity theft. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or call 877-ID-THEFT. File a police report with local law enforcement and make sure you receive a copy of the police report so you can present that to creditors or others who may require proof of the crime. You can also apply for an Identity Theft Passport that will help you prove to creditors and law enforcement that your identity has been used to commit fraud.

    For more information on identity theft and how to protect your personal information:

     

    Last Updated 6/11/20
  • DLI determined UI benefits were paid on a claim fraudulently established using my personal information. Do I have to repay those benefits even though I did not request or receive those benefits?

    If DLI determines that benefits were paid out on a fraudulently established claim, you will not be required to repay those benefits. DLI takes UI fraud seriously and thoroughly investigates allegations of fraud. An investigation may take longer as DLI continues to process the unprecedented number of new and reactivated claims filed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Last Updated 6/11/20
  • If DLI determines someone used my personal information to establish a claim for UI benefits, can I still apply for benefits if I need to?

    Yes. It may take some time, as DLI will take every step necessary to ensure your claim is distinguished from a fraudulent one.

    Last Updated 6/11/20
  • Report UI fraud at DLI’s Report Fraud page by clicking on Report Claimant Fraud or Report Employer Fraud and provide the requested information. You can also report UI fraud by calling (406) 444-0072 or 1-888-556-4677.

    You may also fax your information to DLI at (406) 444-6651 or email it to DLIUIDCI@mt.gov. Include the contact information of the claimant and/or employer suspected of UI fraud if you know it and provide as much information as you can about the suspected UI fraud. Remember, you can remain anonymous. If you want DLI to contact you, please include your name, telephone number, and email address.

    Ensure your documents are clear and readable. Write your name, email address, and telephone number on your documents. A customer service representative will contact you if further information is required.

    Last Updated 6/11/20

Interim Pandemic Assistance

On November 17, 2020, Governor Bullock announced the Interim Pandemic Assistance (IPA) program. The Governor authorized up to $25 million to be expended from Montana’s allocation of federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds to eligible Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants. This program allowed an additional $200 weekly payment for eligible UI claimants who were unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. This payment applied to the UI and PUA weeks ending November 28 through December 19, 2020.

All possible disbursements from the program were completed by December 30, 2020. Due to the limited funding source, DLI cannot make retroactive IPA payments. Claims adjudicated after the December 30, 2020 deadline will not be eligible for IPA payments.

  • IPA payments are taxable under federal law, just like regular UI or PUA benefits. IPA payments will not be subject to tax withholding or other statutory offsets. Last Updated 12/29/20

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)

On August 8, 2020, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum that established the grant-based Lost Wages Assistance program through the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). The Presidential Memorandum authorized up to $44 billion to be expended from FEMA’s Disaster Relieve Fund (DRF) for lost wages assistance to eligibly claimants. The program allowed Montana to provide a new weekly payment of $400 for eligible UI claimants who were unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. This payment was in addition to a claimant’s weekly benefit amount. The LWA program ended on September 5, 2020. All funds allotted for the program have been distributed. A decision to extend or change LWA is solely up to the federal government.
  • Yes, your LWA payment is taxable. However, UI cannot withhold federal taxes of 10% on LWA payments, even if you have marked withholding on your regular UI claim.
    For your 2020 tax filing, you will receive a 1099 from UI at the beginning of 2021 disclosing your LWA benefits.
    Last updated 09/01/20 Last Updated 9/1/20

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 provided for a temporary emergency increase in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, referred to as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. An individual eligible for UI benefits received $600 per week in addition to their weekly benefits amount. DLI began issuing FPUC benefits on April 13, 2020. The first phase of the FPUC program ended on July 25, 2020. An individual still waiting on a decision regarding their unemployment eligibility will receive all back weeks of FPUC due to them, even if the decision is made after July 25, 2020. The Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 reinstated the FPUC program with an additional $300 per week in benefits for eligible claimants. This additional amount is available for the UI week ending January 2, 2021, through UI week ending June 26, 2021.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 created a new temporary program called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). This program was extended by the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020. PEUC provides up to 24 weeks of additional UI benefits to those individuals who have exhausted their UI claims. Beginning on June 27, 2021, the State of Montana will no longer be participating in the PEUC program. Claims for weeks up to and including the week of June 26, 2021 will be paid if you are found eligible. 

COVID-19 Specific

Information specific to Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19 scenarios and benefits
  • If your employer shuts down operations, you may be eligible for UI benefits as this qualifies as a layoff. Last Updated 5/5/20
  • If I’m asymptomatic and decide to self-quarantine due to COVID-19, will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

    You may not be eligible for benefits if you have not been directed to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19, and you choose to self-quarantine. UI benefits are available to individuals who are totally or partially unemployed due to no fault of their own.

    Last Updated 5/5/20
  • If COVID-19 causes my employer to offer a temporary, voluntary leave of absence to avoid more drastic cost-saving measures, and I take it, will I still be eligible for unemployment insurance?

    You may be eligible if your employer offers a temporary, unpaid, approved leave of absence due to COVID-19 to avoid more drastic cost-saving measures, including involuntary reductions. This type of leave of absence may be considered a temporary layoff. Please retain all documentation provided to you from your employer.

    Last Updated 5/5/20
  • If my employer lays me off or reduces my hours due to the loss of production caused by COVID-19 will I be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits?

    Individuals working reduced hours may be eligible for UI benefits if they meet all other eligibility requirements. You can estimate potential weekly benefit amount using DLI’s Partial Benefit Calculator.

    Last Updated 5/5/20
  • If I am in mandatory quarantine because of suspicion of having COVID-19, will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

    Employees who are directed to be quarantined are considered unemployed and may be eligible for benefits.

    Last Updated 5/5/20
  • Is payout of my accrued leave, whether sick or vacation, required during a furlough or temporary layoff?

    Generally, no. When the situation is considered temporary by the employer and the employee, pay out of accrued leave is not required. When an employee is furloughed or temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the employer intends to recall the employee to work at the end of the temporary layoff; and the employee intends to return to work when recalled by the employer, pay out of leave is not required. An employee should take reasonable measures to maintain contact with the employer. If the separation between the employer and employee becomes permanent at any time during the temporary layoff, then the accrued leave must be paid to the employee pursuant to 39-3-205, MCA. If the employer initiates the permanent separation, the employer must pay out the leave and the employee is still eligible for unemployment insurance. If the employee initiates the permanent separation, the employer must pay out the leave and the employee is no longer eligible for unemployment insurance.

    Last Updated 4/13/20
  • You can file a claim for unemployment benefits on MontanaWorks Once you have filed your claim, you should start requesting payments the following Sunday, and every week after that.

    You can connect with Montana DPHHS for assistance in finding health care options that fit you and your family.

    Last Updated 5/5/20
  • What should I do if my job is considered essential infrastructure, but I have safety concerns related to COVID-19?

    An employer may discipline or terminate an employee based on the employee's failure to attend work, subject to its policies or collective bargaining agreements. An employer cannot require an employee to come to work if a health professional has ordered the employee to stay home. Local public health officials have the authority to issue public health orders that may prevent employees from reporting to work to ensure the health and safety of the public. You can contact your local public health officials if you have further questions on your circumstances.

    For resources on preventing COVID-19 exposure in your workplace visit OSHA.gov and CDC.gov.

    Last Updated 5/5/20
  • Employers are legally obligated to provide a safe working environment. Workers who feel their workplace is unsafe should report their concerns to their supervisor. If nothing changes, workers may contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for guidance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.

    Employees who voice concerns about workplace safety are generally protected against discipline or discharge for such activity. For further information about the rights of organized employees, please visit NLRB.gov.

    Last Updated 5/5/20
  • I was laid off by my employer due to COVID-19 and now my employer wants me to return to work. Can I refuse work and remain on unemployment?

    No. Individuals receiving UI benefits must return to work when asked to do so by the employer, as required by New Rule II(5)(b). However, the employer must comply with the Governor's Directive on reopening and any applicable local public health orders. For more information, review Montana’s Reopening Guidelines 

    Last Updated 12/1/20
  • I have returned to work however my wages and/or hours have been reduced by my employer. Am I still eligible for UI benefits?

    It depends. If you are working 40 hours per week at a reduced wage, you are not considered unemployed. If you are working less than 40 hours and you earn less than twice your Weekly Benefit Amount, you may be eligible for partial UI benefits if you do return to work. Check the Partial Benefit Calculator to estimate the partial weekly benefit amount.

    Last Updated 5/4/20
  • My employer has significantly reduced my wages or hours, or terms and conditions of employment. At what point can I refuse the offer to return to work and continue to be eligible for UI?

    A claimant should not be disqualified from receiving UI benefits if the claimant has “good cause attributable to the employment” for leaving work. A change in the terms of employment or working conditions which reduces hours or wages of 20% or more are considered good cause for leaving work. An employee is required to attempt to resolve the matter with the employer before leaving work, in order to remain eligible for UI.

    Last Updated 5/7/20

MontanaWorks

This online portal provides a digital access point for department services, including unemployment claim services.
  • File online at MontanaWorks.gov. If you are new to this website, you will have to first create an account to file a new Unemployment Claim. If you have filed for unemployment in the past, you may be asked for a Security Word. Please be aware that Security Word used to be Mother’s Maiden Name on the previous website. If you do not have access to a computer, you can file your claim through our Claims Processing Center by calling (406) 444-2545 Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. Last Updated 4/13/20
  • The MontanaWorks dashboard is your best resource for information such as the status of your payment request, reasons for non-payment, remaining benefit balance, and payment history. Helpful information can also be found in the Claimant Handbook and COVID-19 Resources for Montana Employees. If you are unable to find the answer to your question, please email UIClaims@mt.gov. In the subject line of the email, note the topic of your question. In the body of your email, include your name, claimant identification number, telephone, and email address, with a brief description of the information you seek. We appreciate your continued patience as claims center representatives work to answer the thousands of telephone calls and emails received each day. Last Updated 5/5/20
  • DLI continues to improve the dashboard with new functionality to help you access information about your claim. The dashboard may be taken down from time to time so improvements can be made. Be sure to check regularly to see what features have been added. Last Updated 5/5/20
  • Please send an email to UIClaims@mt.gov that includes your name, individual Claimant ID, phone number, and a brief description of your issue. Noting your issue in the subject line using the following terms will assist in the timely processing of your issue.

    • DOB to correct reported date of birth
    • JOB ATTACHED to report your job attached status or to change your return to work date
    • CLAIM ERROR if you receive a message directing you to verify your personal information

     

    Last Updated 5/7/20
  • Email UIClaims@mt.gov, with the subject line WAGE/EARNING CHANGE. Include your name, individual Claimant ID, telephone number and a list of the weeks you wish to report new hours and/or earnings. A customer service representative will contact you if further information is needed. Last Updated 5/27/20
  • I filed for PUA benefits after being denied regular UI benefits. When I access my PUA claim, I get a message directing me to withdraw or cancel my claim. Why is this happening?

    There is an unresolved issue affecting your claim. UI representatives will process these issue(s) as soon as possible. A customer service representative will contact you if further information is needed.

    Each claim is unique. DLI is committed to processing each claim according to state and federal law. This may take additional time. We appreciate your patience.

    Last Updated 5/27/20
  • Your claim becomes inactive if, for two weeks in a row, you:

    • Do not request payment
    • Work 40 hours or your regular number of weekly hours
    • Earn more than twice your Weekly Benefit Amount for that week
    • Answer “No” when asked if you wish to request payment for that week
    Last Updated 5/27/20
  • Why can’t I request payment for several weeks that I have not yet requested payment for or why do I see there is a hold on my claim?

    There is an unresolved issue affecting your claim. UI representatives will process these issue(s) as soon as possible. A customer service representative will contact you if further information is needed.

    Each claim is unique. DLI is committed to processing each claim according to state and federal law. This may take additional time. We appreciate your patience.

    Last Updated 5/27/20

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a new temporary federal program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a new temporary federal program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Individuals who are not eligible for regular UI benefits or extended benefits, including those who have exhausted all rights to such benefits, may be eligible for up to 50 weeks of UI benefits. More information on eligibility requirements for PUA benefits can be found on DLI’s Self-Employed, Independent Contractors & Others informational page. The State of Montana will no longer participate in the PUA program beginning June 27, 2021.

Wage and Hour

Workers who have not been paid their wages according to Montana law can file a Wage Claim with DLI’s Wage & Hour Unit. A Wage Claim cannot be used to file for UI benefits. More information on filing wage claims can be found here.
  • First, ask the employer why you haven’t received your final check. If the employer refuses to give you your final check, you may choose one of the three options to obtain your wages:

    • Obtain the services of a private attorney;
    • File a claim in court; or
    • File a wage claim with the Investigations Section of the Employment Relations Division at the Montana Department of Labor & Industry. Download the wage claim form here
    Last Updated 5/5/20
  • When an employee is permanently laid off or discharged, all wages are due immediately (within four hours or end of the business day, whichever occurs first), unless the employer has a preexisting, written policy that extends the time for payment. In the event of a preexisting written policy, the wages may not be delayed beyond the next payday for the period in which the separation occurred, or 15 calendar days. Last Updated 4/13/20
  • What do I do if I have not received wages for work that I have performed, and my employer is temporarily closed but I expect to return to work?

    Stay in contact with your employer and allow them a bit of time to catch up given the extraordinary circumstances many businesses are facing. If you are unable to contact them or obtain your wages, you can consider filing a wage claim.

    Last Updated 5/5/20
  • An employer can change an employee’s rate of pay prospectively. The change cannot be effective retroactively and it must meet all minimum wage and overtime requirements found in Section 39-3 Part 4 Minimum Wage and Overtime Compensation MCA. Further information can be found in DLI’s Wage and Hour FAQs.

    Last Updated 5/5/20

Additional Resources

Workers who have not been paid their wages according to Montana law can file a Wage Claim with DLI’s Wage & Hour Unit. A Wage Claim cannot be used to file for UI benefits. More information on filing wage claims can be found here.
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