FAQ Friday – Why do I have to wait a week to receive unemployment insurance benefits?

Everyone who files for unemployment insurance in Idaho is required to serve one waiting week and will not receive benefits for that week.

A waiting week reflects an unpaid week when you successfully file your weekly report and meet all the eligibility requirements for receiving unemployment insurance.

People who file for unemployment insurance are required to serve only one waiting week per benefit year, which is a calendar year from the date you file your claim. Once you serve your waiting week – even if you are laid off several times a year – you won’t serve a waiting week each time.

Sometimes people hear the ‘waiting week’ and think that means they are supposed to wait a week until filing their initial claim or a weekly report. Help us abolish this myth and DO NOT WAIT to file. If you don’t file, your waiting week is not counted as served and will only further delay the date you receive a benefit payment.

It is possible to work a partial week and still have that count toward your waiting week, however if you earn more than 1½ times your weekly benefit amount, that week does not qualify as a waiting week.  If this happens, the next week reported on your claim that meets all eligibility requirements will be counted as your waiting week.

Why is there such a thing as a waiting week? One reason was to reduce costs of the program or restore stability to a depleted UI trust fund.  Another reason is to provide administrative convenience.  Some states, such as Wisconsin and Kentucky have adopted a waiting week just within the last few years. Most states do not have waiting periods over one week.