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Idaho labor officials working on claim backlog

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BOISE, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Idaho Department of Labor claims it is making progress in processing unemployment insurance claims.

The Department said an executive order signed by Governor Brad Little temporarily eased some eligibility requirements and allowed the department to increase the number of claims being paid.

It says the action lowered the number of pending claims from 42,000 to just over 20,000. As of Tuesday, the number of people who filed a claim, but had not yet received a payment, dropped from more than 17,000 to 8,500.

Of the 149,227 initial claims filed, 75% were filed in the first five weeks of the state’s emergency declaration. That created a significant backlog of claims that the department believes will be eliminated by the end of July.

The department said Idaho is among many states that have seen an increase in fraudulent claims during the week of June 8. About 25% of new claims filed that week were flagged for possible identity theft.    

A Department of Labor team is dedicated to researching those claims and making sure the claims are not being paid to fraudulent or off-shore bank accounts.

Call Center agents are being doubled from 50 to 100 to help answer phones, take new claims, unlock accounts and provide other assistance to claimants by Thursday. An additional 19 claim specialists have also been hired to help. 

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