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Expanded unemployment benefits now available to eligible Montanans

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HELENA — The Montana Department of Labor & Industry announced that Montana is offering extended Benefits for eligible individuals who exhaust their previous unemployment insurance benefits.

Under state and federal law, extended benefits offer up to 13 weeks of additional benefits to those who have exhausted regular UI benefits and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. Extended benefits were triggered by the rise of Montana’s insured unemployment rate due to COVID-19. Other states have also begun offering extended benefits based on their insured unemployment rate. 

Under regular UI, Montanans can receive up to 28 weeks of benefits. The federal CARES Act provides PEUC benefits for up to an additional 13 weeks. Extended benefits are available after PEUC benefits are exhausted. This extension of benefits is not available to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims for self-employed and other populations expanded under the CARES Act. The last time extended benefits were available in Montana was from February to June 2010 during the Great Recession.

When an individual is eligible for Expanded Benefits, they will see the option to apply on their personal MontanaWorks dashboard. Enrollment is not automatic; individuals will have to file a claim. Filing an extended benefits claim follows the same process as filling out a regular claim on MontanaWorks.

DLI continues to encourage anyone who believes they may be eligible for UI to file a claim online at MontanaWorks.gov, or at mtpua.mt.gov for those that fall under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance eligibility guidelines.

 Those with technical, eligibility, or benefits questions are encouraged to view the COVID-19 resource website at dli.mt.gov/covid-19. A variety of information for both Montana workers and employers is available, including resources to help claimants navigate the unemployment process. Claimants with questions specific to extended benefits can call 406-444-2556 for assistance.

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