Montana Public Radio

Expanded State Unemployment Benefits On Hold Pending Details From Feds

Apr 1, 2020

Self employed, gig workers and freelancers in Montana can now file for unemployment benefits under the federal aid package passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump last week.

The $2 trillion spending bill aims to provide economic relief amid the novel coronavirus pandemic that’s caused statewide stay-at-home orders and businesses to close their doors.

State officials are still working on building the federal changes to unemployment benefits into Montana’s unemployment website, montanaworks.gov. The website is seeing unprecedented numbers of visitors filing unemployment insurance claims.

A screen capture from Montana's unemployment website, montanaworks.gov, April 01, 2020.
Credit montanaworks.gov

The federal relief bill allows people in Montana receiving unemployment to get an additional $600 a week. The state labor department says it’s waiting on the federal government for additional details, and those payments are not yet available. But the state says the new benefits will be backdated to the week of March 15 or 23.

Nearly 40,000 new claims for unemployment have been filed in Montana since the first positive case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in the state in mid March.