BOISE, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Idaho Department of Labor is taking steps it hopes will allow it to better serve unemployed Idahoans.
The department is adjusting its phone schedule to accept incoming calls between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. It is reserving the hours of 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. to process claims.
State officials said they expect the move to aid hundreds more claims by freeing up time for staff to return phone calls, resolve issues preventing payments, and to process claims more quickly.
"Our goal is serve Idahoans as quickly as possible through this difficult time, and adjusting our phone schedule means we can focus on processing claims so Idahoans will receive their benefit payments sooner. This move reduces wait times for phone calls and click to chat interactions," said Labor Director Jani Revier.
Revier also advised anyone who has already applied for benefits, but has an issue pending, to be available to answer their phone during those times. She added that it could take several days to hear from the department due to the number of calls her staff needs to place.
The department is hiring an additional 12 claims specialists and reassigning agency staff to help meet demand.
The department has issued 60,603 payments for a total of $17.95 million to 30,546 Idahoans whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19.
Revier said answers to many claim questions can be found on the department's website.
She said details about the CARES Act provisions, extensions, benefits for the self-employed and gig workers, and the $600 additional payment will be posted on the website when they are available.