Collecting Unemployment Benefits in Idaho

Learn the unemployment eligibility rules, benefit amounts, and more for Idaho.

Did you recently lose your job in Idaho? If so, you might be eligible for unemployment benefits: payments intended to partially replace the wages of employees who are temporarily out of work through no fault of their own. Although the basic rules for unemployment are similar across the board, the eligibility rules, prior earnings requirements, benefit amounts, and other details vary from state to state. Below you’ll find information on collecting unemployment in Idaho.

Eligibility for Unemployment in Idaho

In Idaho, the Department of Labor (DOL) handles unemployment benefits and determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must meet the following three eligibility requirements in order to collect unemployment benefits in Idaho:

  • You must have earned at least a minimum amount in wages before you were unemployed.
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by Idaho law.
  • You must be able and available to work, and you must be actively seeking employment.

Past Earnings

Virtually all states look at your recent work history and earnings during a one-year "base period" to determine your eligibility for unemployment. (For more information, see Nolo's article, Unemployment Compensation: Understanding the Base Period.) In Idaho, as in most states, the base period is the earliest four of the five complete calendar quarters before you filed your benefits claim. For example, if you file your claim in September of 2017, the base period would be from April 1, 2016, through March 31, 2017.

To qualify for benefits in Idaho, you must meet all three of the following requirements:

  • You must have earned wages in at least two quarters of the base period.
  • Your wages during the entire base period must be at least 1.25 times your wages in the highest-paid quarter.
  • You must have earned at least $1,872 in the highest-paid quarter of the base period.

Reasons for Unemployment

In Idaho, as in other states, you must be out of work through no fault of your own to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Layoffs. If you were laid off, lost your job in a reduction-in-force (RIF), or got "downsized" for economic reasons, you will meet this requirement.

Firing. If you were fired because you lacked the skills to perform the job or simply weren't a good fit, you won’t necessarily be barred from receiving benefits. However, if you were fired for misconduct relating to your job, you will be ineligible for benefits. Misconduct includes:

  • disregarding your employer’s interests in a willful, intentional manner (for example, falsifying work records)
  • deliberately violating your employer’s reasonable work rules (by, for instance, refusing to wear safety gear or sexually harassing a coworker), and
  • disregarding reasonable standards of behavior that your employer has a right to expect from its employees (such as acting rudely towards customers or repeated tardiness without excuse).

Quitting. If you quit your job, you will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless you had good cause. In general, good cause means that your reason for leaving the position was related to your wages, hours, or working conditions, and it was so compelling that you had no other choice than to leave. For example, if you left your job because it aggravated a health condition or subjected you to dangerous working conditions, you may be able to collect benefits. However, you typically must have provided your employer with notice of the particular issue and an opportunity to correct it.

Availability to Work

To keep collecting unemployment benefits, you must be able to work, available to work, and looking for employment. (For more information, see Nolo's article, Collecting Unemployment: Are You Able, Available, and Actively Seeking Work?) If you’re incarcerated, on vacation, or in school, or you don’t have adequate transportation to get to work, you likely won’t be considered able and available to work. If you’re offered a suitable position, you must accept it. A suitable job is one for which you are qualified, which pays the prevailing wage for that type of work in your area.

In Idaho, you must actively search for work each week, including at least two job contacts per week. You must keep a log of your job contacts and other job search activities. The Idaho Department of Labor may request your job search records at any time.

Amount and Duration of Unemployment Benefits in Idaho

If you are eligible to receive unemployment, your weekly benefit will be your total compensation in the highest-paid quarter of the base period divided by 26. The current maximum benefit amount is $405 per week; the minimum weekly benefit is $72.

Currently, you may receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. In times of higher unemployment, additional weeks of benefits may be available.

How to File a Claim for Unemployment Benefits in Idaho

You may file your claim for unemployment benefits online or in person at any office of the Idaho Department of Labor. You can find online filing information and office addresses at the website of the Idaho Department of Labor.

After you file, you will receive some paperwork, including the wages reported by all of your employers during your base period and your potential weekly benefit amount.

How to Appeal a Denial of Unemployment Benefits in Idaho

If your unemployment claim is denied, you have 14 days to file an appeal with the Appeals Bureau of the Idaho Department of Labor. A hearing will be conducted by phone by an appeals examiner. You will be able to present evidence and witness testimony at the hearing. The appeals examiner will then issue a decision.

If you disagree with the appeals examiner’s decision, you may appeal it within 14 days to the Idaho Industrial Commission. If you disagree with the Board’s decision, you may file an appeal in state court.

For more information on the unemployment process, including current eligibility requirements and benefits amounts, visit the website of the Idaho Department of Labor.

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