Previous Page

Claimant Handbook

If you are temporarily laid off and anticipate returning to work at 30 hours or more per week, your employer will be required to verify the expected return to work date.  If verified, you will be considered job attached and will not be required to make a weekly work search.  However, if you are continuing to work less than full time, you can only be job attached if you have a guarantee of returning to 40 hours per week. If you are a union member who gets work through the union hiring hall, are in good standing, and are on the out-of-work list you will be considered union attached, if verified by your union.  If you are job or union attached, you must still be able and available to accept any offer of suitable employment.  If your status changes, you must notify the Claims Processing Center.

Refusing Work or Referrals to Work

Failure to apply for or accept work you are qualified to perform could affect your benefits.  After half of your benefits have been paid, you must be willing to accept a job paying 75% of your previous wage, but not less than federal minimum wage. Any refusals of work must be reported on your bi-weekly request for payment of benefits.

  • Refusing work means:    
    > You turned down work that was offered to you or you did not work all the hours that were available to you.
  • Referral to work means:    
    > You were sent to a job interview by Workforce Services where an opportunity for work existed.  When you are referred, you must apply as instructed.  

    Benefit Week and Benefit Year Information:

  • You must request payment for each week you expect to get paid benefits.  The computer system will allow you to do this weekly or bi-weekly, but you should be consistent and maintain the same schedule of filing.
  • The first week on a new claim is an unpaid Waiting Week. You must request this week to get credit for it. There is only one Waiting Week per claim year.
  • An unemployment benefit week begins on Sunday and ends Saturday at midnight. You cannot request benefits for a week until that week has ended. Wait until after midnight Saturday to request payment of benefits. You must request payment for a 2-week period no later than 7 days after the end of the second week. If your request is late, you may not receive payment.
  • Your claim must be in an active status before you can request payment.
  • Your claim is inactive if you have not claimed for 2 weeks, have earned more than twice your weekly benefit amount for 2 weeks in a row, or worked your customary hours for 2 weeks in a row. Even if you made a request for payment for those 2 weeks, your claim becomes inactive.
  • If you don't know if you claim is active or not, log onto to see if this Saturday's date is a pending week. Your claim is active if the date is there, and you will be able to file for this week's benefits after the week has ended.
  • A benefit year consists of a 1-year period in which to collect your maximum benefit amount (MBA). It does not mean you get benefits for a year. Your Monetary Determination mailed to you at the beginning of your claim year has the number of weeks of full benefits available to you, or divide you MBA by the WBA to see the number of weeks of benefits.
  • Your claim can be reactivated during the benefit year at any time as long as there is money left on your claim. Watch the Remaining Balance Amount (RBA) to know how much is left in your claim.
  • You cannot file a new Montana claim until after your current benefit year expires.

    For further information, please see the videos and audio tips posted on the UI website at

    Previous Page