How To File For Montana Unemployment

This page provides information on how to file for unemployment in Montana. If you lost your job or your hours were reduced at no fault of your own, you may qualify to receive unemployment benefits in your state. Review the information below, if you still have questions or issues about these benefits, then we suggest to contact your local Montana Unemployment Department for assistance. It is important that you file your new claim right away because Montana unemployment insurance are not retroactive.

Montana unemployment eligibility

Eligibility for benefits is based on all of the following:

  • Your wages over the past 12-18 months
  • The reason you are unemployed
  • Your physical and mental ability and availability for work
  • Your efforts to apply for work
  • Verification of your citizenship or legal-to-work status if you are not a US citizen

Your current/most recent employer and all employers you have worked for within the last six weeks of filing or reactivating your claim will be asked specific information about your separation. UI will investigate the reasons surrounding your separation from employment. The time this process takes varies and depends on the circumstances of your separation. All parties involved are allowed appropriate time to respond. Responding promptly may help you receive a decision more quickly.

Waiting Week

The first week you are eligible is called your Waiting Week. You must file a payment request and meet all eligibility requirements, however you will not get paid for this week. Your payments will start with the next week you make a payment request and are eligible. There is only one Waiting Week per Benefit Year. You may receive benefits if you:

  • Were laid-off or your hours were reduced, because of lack of available work with your employer
  • Left employment and can show it was for good cause related to the job
  • Are unemployed because you or your child were a victim of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault
  • Were discharged from your job for reasons other than misconduct

You may not receive benefits if you:

  • Left your job for personal reasons that were not work related
  • Were suspended or discharged (fired) for misconduct
  • Did not conduct and report a verifiable work application or resume
  • Are on an employer approved leave of absence
  • Did not provide accurate information, did not respond to requests for information, or did not file a payment request on time
  • Are not available to work the hours or days customary to your occupation
  • Are not willing to accept the same wage you received from your last employer
  • Are self-employed full-time
  • Are currently receiving workers compensation for an on-the-job injury
  • Limit the hours you can or are willing to work to less than 40 hours per week
  • Fail to register for work at
  • Are not working due to a strike or labor union dispute (special laws govern these claims)

They use three factors to determine your eligibility for UI benefits:

(1) Your Base Period or Alternate Base Period wages; (2) the reason for your job separation; and (3) your (a) continuing ability to work, (b) availability for work, and (c) active searches for work. If they discover an Eligibility Issue, it will be posted on When the issue is resolved, you will receive a Notice of Determination.

  • Determining Your Base Period Wages
  • The Base Period is the 12-month period used to determine your Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) and the number of weeks you may be paid benefits
  • The Base Period includes of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the week in which you file your application for benefits. A calendar quarter is a three-month period ending March 31, June 30, September 30, or December 31

If you are not eligible on a regular Base Period, UI will use an Alternate Base Period (ABP) to determine your eligibility. Once UI makes its determination, they will send you a Monetary Determination notice.

Review your Monetary Determination notice for accuracy. All Base Period wages should be listed. If you had wages from any federal, military, or out-of-state employment, the notice will indicate "pending". That means they are waiting for information from another source and you will receive a new Monetary Determination notice once this information has been verified. If you believe the wages or employers listed are wrong or there are wages or employers missing, contact the Claims Processing Center. Inaccurate wages could result in a benefit Overpayment or Underpayment. You can also review your Monetary Determination by logging into and selecting the "View Claim Information" link.

Even if your Monetary Determination shows you qualify for a Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA), all other eligibility requirements must be met each week that you request payment.

If your Monetary Determination indicates you are ineligible due to insufficient wages, you may request that your wages be adjusted from "as paid" to "as earned". For example, if you worked the last week of December but will not be paid for that week until the month of January, you can request the "as earned" adjustment. In that case the wages will be applied to the week you earned them. This adjustment will occur for wages across every quarter in the Base Period, not just the last quarter. Contact the Claims Processing Center to discuss this option.

How and when do I get paid?

You request payment online at for each week you want to get paid. It is important to request benefits in an accurate and consistent manner. The UI week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday at midnight. You can request weekly or (bi)weekly (every two weeks) payments.

Please note, do not wait more than 14 days between payment requests or your claim will become inactive and must be reactivated before benefits can resume. The first eligible week of a new claim is a Waiting Week. You must request payment for the week even though you will not be paid.

For every week you request payment you must be:

Able to Work

If you were physically or mentally unable to work during a week you file for benefits, you must report this when you request your (bi)weekly payment.

Available for Work

If you are unavailable to work for any reason, you must report this when you make your (bi)weekly payment request. For example:

  • You cannot work due to a personal circumstance like lack of childcare or transportation
  • You take time off from work or do not work all your normally scheduled hours for reasons other than a reduction in hours by your employer
Applying for Work

You must submit a least one application or resume each week you request benefits. You must apply for a job you are qualified to perform and willing to accept. You will be asked to provide your work search contacts each week you file for payment.

  • Applications or resumes need to be submitted during the Benefit Week (Sunday-Saturday) for which you are requesting payment
  • Applications or resumes should be submitted to an individual who has hiring authority, using the mail, Internet, or fax, depending on how the employer requested you apply
  • Applications cannot be made with the same employer two weeks in a row, unless it is for a different position
  • You are required to report your work search contact information on your (bi)weekly payment requests. If this information is not submitted or is incomplete, you may be denied benefits
  • Record your job application efforts and keep your records in case your claim is selected for an audit. Reporting you applied for work when you have not is fraud
  • Working part-time does not exempt you from seeking full-time employment or additional part-time employment adding up to full-time (40 hours or more per week)

Information you need to apply for Montana unemployment

You will need the following information when you apply for unemployment benefits in Montana.

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your current mailing address
  • Your telephone number and/or email address
  • Complete name, address and phone number of all employers you have worked for since 04-01-2017
  • Direct deposit: If you wish to have your benefits deposited directly to your bank account, you will need your account number and bank routing number for the account you want your benefits deposited in
  • If you are an ex-military member: A copy of your DD214, Member 4 will need to be mailed to our office. You may file an unemployment claim after your discharge date shown on your DD214, Member 4
  • If you were a Federal employee: Your SF8 or SF50 may assist you in filing your claim
  • If you obtain work through a union: The name and local number of your union hall
  • If you are not a US Citizen: Alien registration card number and expiration date

File for Montana unemployment benefits

File your claim, reactivate a claim, request payment, or check the status of your claim online at It is safe, secure, and available 24/7/365.

File an appeal

An appeal is a request to review a Determination, Redetermination, or Hearing Decision you do not agree with. You have the right to appeal decisions made on your claim. Your employer has the right to appeal a decision related to your separation from work. You or your employer have ten days from the date of the Determination, Redetermination, or Hearing Decision to file an Appeal. Carefully read each Notice of Determination, Redetermination, or Hearing Decision you receive for specific instructions on how to file an Appeal. The process:

  • If you or your employer disagree with a Notice of Determination, either of you can request a Redetermination. You will be asked to provide a reason why you disagree and any new supporting facts. A Notice of Redetermination will be mailed to all appropriate parties
  • If you or your employer disagree with the Notice of Redetermination, either of you may appeal to the Office of Administrative Hearings. You can appeal online at and click on "Unemployment Insurance Appeal Form" button, or through, or by following the instructions for mail or fax on the Request for Appeal page that accompanies your Notice of Redetermination. Once you appeal, watch your mail! You will receive a Notice of Hearing with a specified time and date for a telephone hearing. An impartial hearing officer will call you to participate in the hearing on the date and time set on the Notice of Hearing. After the hearing, a Hearing Decision will be mailed to all interested parties. To learn more about the telephone hearing process, go to