COVID-19 Resources for Montana 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.

FAQ for Employees

COVID-19 Specific

If your employer shuts down operations, you may be eligible for UI benefits as this qualifies as a layoff.
Last updated 05/05/20

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 05/05/20

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 05/05/20

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 05/05/20

First, contact your employer and ask them what they plan on doing in the coming weeks and months. It is possible the employer does not intend to reopen the business until it can do so safely. If you are unable to reach the job or the job offer has been withdrawn as a direct result of COVID-19, go to MontanaWorks.gov for resources on filing a claim for unemployment insurance benefits.
Last updated 04/13/20

Employees who are directed to be quarantined are considered unemployed and may be eligible for benefits.
Last updated 05/05/20

Substitute teachers are generally covered under the unemployment insurance rules. Wages received from substitute teaching will be used to determine whether you can establish a claim for unemployment benefits. If you are expected to return to work in the same or similar capacity for a school district in the upcoming school term, you may not be eligible for benefits during a customary break period. You may be eligible for PUA benefits if you do not qualify for regular UI benefits. Information regarding PUA benefits can be found on DLI’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance page.
Last updated 05/05/20

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 04/13/20

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 05/05/20

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 05/05/20

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 05/05/20

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 Phase 1 Directive on reopening and any applicable local public health orders. For more information, review Montana’s Reopening Guidelines Reopening Guidelines.
Last updated 05/05/20

No. Quitting to access unemployment benefits is not good cause for leaving work. Individuals who quit to access UI benefits and are untruthful in their UI application about their reason for quitting, will be considered to have committed fraud.

The Montana Department of Labor & Industry takes fraud very seriously; all reports of potential, alleged, or suspected fraud are thoroughly reviewed and investigated. Those found to have committed UI fraud are subject to penalties and/or criminal prosecution. Please refer to page 16 of the Claimant Handbook for more information. http://uid.dli.mt.gov/Portals/55/Documents/Claims-Processing/dli-uid-cl001.pdf
Last updated 05/05/20

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 05/04/20

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 05/07/20

MontanaWorks

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 04/13/20

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 05/05/20

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 05/05/20

You can now track your payment requests by viewing all submissions in the last 18 months. That information includes your benefit date, amount paid, status of your request, and reason for non-payment. You can also manage your direct deposit information. Be sure to check regularly to see what features have been added.
Last updated 05/05/20

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 05/07/20

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 05/27/20

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 05/27/20

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 05/27/20

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 05/27/20

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.

You may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits if you are the primary caregiver of a child who is at home due to a school closure directly attributable to COVID-19. Eligibility for PUA benefits will end upon the scheduled end of the academic year.
Last updated 05/05/20

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’sBenefit Calculator.
Last updated 05/05/20

No, 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.
Last updated 05/05/20

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 04/13/20

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 04/13/20

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 05/05/20

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 05/05/20

You don’t have to do anything. Your claim will go inactive if you stop requesting payment for two consecutive weeks. You claim will end at the end of your benefit year.
Last updated 04/13/20

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 05/05/20

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 05/05/20

Your employer may not directly or indirectly prevent you from filing a claim for unemployment benefits.
Last updated 04/17/20

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 05/07/20

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 05/26/20

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 05/26/20

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 05/26/20

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 05/26/20

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 05/26/20

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 provides 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 will receive $600 per week in addition to their weekly benefits amount. DLI began issuing FPUC benefits on April 13, 2020. The FPUC program will end on July 25, 2020.

No. You only need to continue filing your weekly payment request. If you have pending eligibility issues and are later found to be eligible for UI benefits, FPUC benefits will be paid retroactively.
Last updated 05/05/20

No. FPUC benefits will not be issued as a separate transaction unless they are being paid retroactively.
Last updated 05/05/20

Yes. The $600 benefit is taxable like regular UI benefits. You must report all UI benefits, including FPUC benefits on your federal tax return.
Last updated 05/05/20

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). PEUC provides up to 13 weeks of additional UI benefits to those individuals who have exhausted their UI claims.

You are eligible for PEUC if:

  • You exhausted your regular state or federal benefits after July 1, 2019;
  • You are not currently eligible for state or federal unemployment benefits; and
  • You are able and available to work and actively seeking work, except in instances where COVID-19 has made it not possible, including illness, quarantine, or "stay at home" orders.

Last updated 05/13/20

All eligible claimants must file for a PEUC extension claim to receive benefits. Eligible claimants can select the Access Unemployment Claim Services button on the dashboard. If your benefit year has ended, you will need to file a new claim for UI benefits on MontanaWorks.
Last updated 05/05/20

Continue filing your weekly payment request. If your benefit year has ended, you will need to file a new claim for UI benefits on MontanaWorks.
Last updated 05/05/20

Individuals eligible for PEUC benefits may also be eligible for the additional $600 per week payment. The $600 payment will be added to your weekly benefit amount and will be paid retroactively for those who had a claim ending the UI filing week of April 4, 2020. The payments will be made for eligible weeks beginning the UI week ending April 4 through July 25, 2020.
Last updated 05/05/20

You have exhausted your benefits when:

  • You are not eligible for regular UI benefits because you have received the maximum amount of these benefits available to you based on your employment or wages during your base period; OR
  • Your benefit year ended on or after July 1, 2019.

Last updated 05/13/20

After logging into your account on MontanaWorks, select the green “Access Unemployment Claim Services” button. You can then begin by selecting the “File PEUC Extension” button.
Last updated 05/13/20

Your PEUC weekly benefit amount is the same as your regular UI weekly benefit rate. Your weekly benefit rate is based on your reported earnings during the base year (the first four of the last five completed quarters).
Last updated 05/13/20

All individuals collecting any type of unemployment benefits, including PEUC, will receive the additional $600 per week payment in addition to their weekly benefit amount. DLI began issuing the $600 payment the week ending April 4, 2020. The additional $600 per week payment will end July 25, 2020. These payments will be backdated for eligible individuals.
Last updated 05/13/20

Individuals collecting regular unemployment benefits are eligible for 26 weeks of benefits. If you are still unemployed after exhausting your claim, you may be eligible for up to 13 additional weeks of PEUC benefits.
Last updated 05/13/20

You may be eligible for 13 weeks of PEUC benefits. Depending on when you last reported income, you may also be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits after your PEUC eligibility ends. PUA provides benefits to those individuals who do not have enough wages in their base year to file a claim for regular unemployment benefits. More information on PUA benefits can be found on DLI’s Self-Employed, Independent Contractors & Others page.

MontanaWorks is your best resource for updates regarding implementation of the PEUC and PUA programs.
Last updated 05/13/20

The PEUC program provides eligible individuals with up to 13 additional weeks of benefits when you have exhausted your regular unemployment benefit claim.
Last updated 05/13/20

PEUC benefits are available beginning the benefit week ending April 4, 2020 through the benefit week ending December 26, 2020. Check MontanaWorks for updates regarding implementation of the PEUC program.
Last updated 05/13/20

No, if you are currently filing for and receiving unemployment benefits there is no additional action you need to take beyond filing your weekly claims as long as you are unemployed.
Last updated 05/13/20

No. PEUC benefits are available for those who remain unemployed after exhausting their claim for regular unemployment benefits. You will not be eligible for unemployment benefits if you quit to access these benefits.
Last updated 05/13/20

If you are potentially eligible for PEUC benefits, you will see a File PEUC Extension button at the bottom of the page explaining PEUC benefits. If you do not get this message but think you should be eligible for PEUC benefits, email UIClaims@mt.gov with the subject line PEUC EXTENSION. Include your name, individual claimant ID number, telephone number, and a brief explanation as to why you think you may be eligible for PEUC benefits. A customer service representative will contact you if further information is needed.
Last updated 05/27/20

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a new temporary federal program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). 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 39 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.

Wage & 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 05/05/20

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 04/13/20

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 awage claim
Last updated 05/05/20

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 LI’s Wage and Hour FAQs.

Last updated 05/05/20

Notice to Employees: Important Information Regarding Unemployment Compensation here.


Scenarios and Benefits Guide

This side-by-side table is a tool for workers and employers to compare various eligibility scenarios including employer-sponsored sick leave, Unemployment Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation coverage. 

DLI COVID-19 Scenarios and Benefits Flyer


U.S. Department of Labor Fraud Alert

The U.S. Department of Labor Inspector General cautions Unemployment Insurance claimants to be aware of potential schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn More


MontanaWorks Video Tutorials

How to Register for MontanaWorks

How to File an Unemployment Insurance Claim

How to File a UI Request for Payment on MontanaWorks


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