About UI

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a federal-state program developed in the 1930's after the Great Depression. Unemployment Insurance is exactly as the name implies - insurance.  UI administration is financed through a federal payroll tax paid by employers.

Unemployment Insurance benefits lighten the burden for the unemployed individual, allowing them to maintain purchasing power in the community and remain in the area so they will be available for re-employment.  The program stabilizes the local and state economy by preventing a sharp drop in consumer spending during periods of high unemployment.  Unemployment Insurance benefits are paid with Montana employer's Unemployment Insurance contributions.

The Unemployment Insurance Division of the Montana Department of Labor & Industry consists of three distinct bureaus:
  • The Claims Processing Bureau is responsible for receiving and adjudicating new and reopened claims for a variety of unemployment insurance programs. They also resolve non-monetary and employer charging issues. The bureau has centers in Billings and Helena, staffed with five claims processing teams.  Most claim filing is completed online or over the telephone.
  • The Program Support Bureau (PSB) is responsible for all computer hardware and software support, security, and maintenance. Division projects that are technology-based are coordinated or completed with PSB staff. The management analyst, federal reporting, and accounting functions for the division are based here too, as well as Benefits Accuracy Measurement for claims audit. Mail and image processing, Overpayment and Claims Investigation units are also in the Program Support Bureau.
  • The Contributions Bureau (also known as tax) establishes and maintains UI accounts and tax rates for Montana employers. They are responsible for the collection of quarterly wage records (used to determine claim eligibility) and contributions (tax) from subject employers.  Employer compliance with UI law and rule is monitored by the bureau through random employer audits.
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