In this article, we will explain the process of filing a payment request for an active unemployment claim in Montana.
How to File a Request for Payment on MontanaWorks
1. You will need an active Claim before you can request payment
If you have not filed a claim in the past year, you will need to open a new claim when your hours fall below your typical schedule. If you have a claim but have not requested payment for more than two weeks, you must reactivate your existing claim when your hours are reduced.
If a claim is not reactivated during the week your hours are reduced, you will not be able to request payment for it. If you experience difficulties with the website, please call us at 406-444-2545 and let the representative know the date you first attempted to open or reopen your claim.
Once you have an active unemployment claim, it is your responsibility to actively request payment for the weeks you were unemployed or working reduced hours. When filing your payment request, you will always be requesting payment for previous weeks, not the current week.
2. When request payment?
Unemployment groups weeks from Sunday to Saturday, and you address the week by the Saturday date it ended on. We recommend filing your payment requests on Sunday or Monday after the week is over to receive payment as soon as possible. However, you have seven days to request payment once it is available. Failure to request payment within those seven days will result in your claim becoming inactive.
3. Requesting pay weekly or bi-wekly
Montana unemployment allows claimants to file their payment requests on a weekly or biweekly basis. If you file weekly, you will visit Montana Works once every week and request payment for the previous week. If you file biweekly, you will visit Montana Works every other week and request payment for the previous two weeks. We recommend choosing one routine and staying consistent with that schedule to avoid errors and delayed benefits.
Before filing your payment request, you will need your four-digit PIN, hours and gross earnings for the weeks you are requesting payment, and your work search information if required to apply for work. If you are job attached or union attached, you will need the contact information for your employer and a valid phone number you can be reached at.
We recommend gathering all your information before starting a payment request and completing it in one session. Your session will timeout after 15 minutes of inactivity, potentially resulting in missing information on your request and delaying benefits.
4. What will you need to request payment?
To file a payment request, start by logging into Montana Works with your username and password. Once logged in, follow the steps below
- Click “Access Unemployment Claim Services”
- On the next page, click “File Request for Payment” Enter your PIN and click “Start”
- You will then be asked if you want to file for the available benefit weeks. If you are filing biweekly, one benefit week will be presented at a time, and the second will be presented after answering for the first. If you do not wish to request payment for a week, answer “No” and click “Save and Continue.” We recommend not ignoring an available week as it may lead to your claim going inactive and missing weeks you intended to request.
- If you want to request payment, click “Yes” and then “Save and Continue.” You will be asked a series of questions for the first available benefit week. Read and answer all questions honestly and accurately. Depending on your answers, you may receive additional questions. If you are filing biweekly, you will be asked the same questions for the second benefit week after submitting answers for the first.
- Did you work during the benefit week? If you did, provide the hours you worked from Sunday to Saturday of that benefit week and report the gross earnings. If you receive tips or have a non-hourly pay rate, visit the link in the description or call us for more instructions on reporting different payment methods.
- Did you take time off or miss scheduled work during the benefit week? If you did, provide the date and reason for the time off or missed work.
- Were you paid or will you be paid for any time off during the benefit week? If yes, provide details.
- Did you receive any commission or bonus during the benefit week? Report any commissions or bonuses received.
- Will you be paid for a holiday that occurred during the benefit week? If yes, provide the holiday hours and gross amount of holiday pay.
- Review your hours and earnings summary and move on to the next questions. Did you quit or get fired from any job during the benefit week? If yes, provide details.
- Were you available to work during the benefit week? If you are job attached or union attached, you must be ready and willing to return to work when notified by any employer. If you were unavailable for work, provide the reason and dates.
- Were you physically and mentally able to work during the benefit week? If you were unable to work, provide the reason.
- Did you refuse a job offer during the benefit week? If yes, provide additional information.
- Did you submit a job application, resume, or have an interview during the benefit week? If yes, provide details.
- Did you attend school or training during the benefit week? If yes, provide more information.
- Were you referred for a job interview by Workforce Services during the benefit week? Answer no to this question as Workforce Services no longer does job interview referrals.
- Review your answers on the payment request summary page. If you need to make corrections, click “Edit.” If your answers are accurate, click “Submit.”
- The next page asks for your work search, job attachment, union attachment information, or reasons for not seeking work. Answer all questions marked with an asterisk. After providing the information, click “Save and Continue.” Answer any additional questions you may receive.
Once all questions have been answered, you will receive the payment request confirmation. Document the information provided and then click “Save and Exit.”
5. When will payments be sent?
Your payment requests are processed Monday through Friday around 6:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. If eligible, payments will be issued the next business day. Payments may be delayed during holiday weeks.
If you are set up for direct deposit, payments may take one to three business days to appear in your bank account. If you do not see your payment, contact your bank first. If your bank cannot find the payment, review your direct deposit information and make any necessary changes.
6.What can delay payment?
Depending on your situation, you may have issues affecting your eligibility for benefits. These issues are processed by the claims processing center in the order received. Benefits will not be paid until you are found fully eligible. If an examiner has additional questions, they will contact you by phone or mail. You can check the status of pending issues on the Montana Works dashboard. Once a decision is made, a decision letter will be mailed to you.
It is crucial to file your payment request while issues are processed, as you may be entitled to back payment for the weeks you requested. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us at 406-444-2545. Thank you.