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Montana Unemployment Eligibility

Unemployment Insurance, an employer funded program, is a protection for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, and who are able, available and looking for work. The main objectives are to provide a temporary source of income and to sustain the purchasing power of the community. This program is not a right to all who have lost their job.

Have a look at the following lists which will help you get a basic insight on what is needed to draw benefits when unemployed in Montana.

To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, claimants who have sufficient work and earnings in covered employment must be:

  • Either totally or partially unemployed through no fault of their own.
  • Able to work and available for work.
  • Documented active work search, contacting employers personally for employment.
  • Registered for work with Job Service, when applicable.
  • Willing to accept suitable work when it is offered.

It is also important to know -

Accurately Report the Reason You Are Unemployed.

Accurately report your reason for separation from your job when you initially file your claim for benefits.

Register with Your Local Job Service Office and Develop a Work Search Plan.

You must register with your local Job Service Office to be eligible to collect UI benefits at To keep your file active, you must use services provided by your local Job Service Office every 90 days for UI eligibility.

Be Available for Work.

In order to collect benefits, you must continually verify that you are able, available and willing to accept suitable work.

Report Any Wages You are Earning.

You must report your gross wages for each week you work. Report all hours and earnings including part-time or temporary work for the week in which you worked and earned them – regardless of when paid.

Actively Search for Work.

Unless exempt by law, you must search for work each week or benefits may be denied. You must keep a record for 3 years.

To Avoid Errors and Ensure Proper Payment of Benefits Read all of the Information Provided to You and Ask Questions.

Follow the Rules to Prevent Yourself from Committing Fraud.

Collecting UI benefits is a legal process – read the rules and follow them. UI fraud can have serious consequences

Weekly Benefit Amount

Weekly Benefit Amount is the compensation amount you will receive each week where you have no work or working part time.
Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount (2013) – $446
Minimum Weekly Benefit Amount (2013) – $127

Eligibility Questions

Am I eligible to receive benefits while attending school?

Possibly, if your school attendance does not interfere with your ability to find and accept full-time work or you are in training approved by the Unemployment Insurance Division. If you did not report this when you filed/reopened your claim, you must call the Claims Processing Center to report the details of your school attendance.

Will I be eligible to receive benefits if I quit my job?

If you left your job for personal reasons that were not work-related, you might not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Reasons that are not work-related under Montana law can include voluntary reduction of your hours, lack of transportation, lack of childcare, family issues, illness, and other personal reasons.

What will happen to my unemployment insurance if I am fired?

If you were discharged, suspended, or fired for misconduct, you will not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. According to Montana laws, misconduct can include theft, dishonesty or illegal actions, carelessness or negligence, attendance issues, violation of a known company policy or rule, insubordination, or destruction of company property.

Unless you were laid off or your hours were reduced due to lack of work, you will be sent a written decision informing you of your eligibility to receive benefits.  You have the right to ask for a redetermination if you disagree with the decision.  Your former employer has the same right.

I was laid off. Can I apply for unemployment compensation?

Yes, you can go ahead and apply for benefits. The rule says that you should have lost the job through no fault of your own and your case is a clear example for the same.
Here are some cases where you can be eligible to receive benefits –

  • You were laid off due to lack of work.
  • You are still working but the employer reduced your hours due to a lack of work.
  • You were fired for reasons other than misconduct.
  • You left your job for a work-related reason allowed by law.
  • You left your job due to an on-the-job injury.
  • You left your job because you or your child was the victim of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault.
  • You left to follow your spouse due to a military reassignment.


Check the Q&A Section and Benefit questions if your question is not listed here.

Want to know your weekly benefit rate? Use our free and easy to use calculator to know your benefit payment.
Know more about unemployment eligibility.

Questions & Answers

  1. Barbara Papineau says:

    If you quit or are fired from your job can’t you draw unemployment after a certain amount of weeks or if you earn a certain amount of money?

  2. julie says:

    I am currently employed seasonally. when this job ends in the fall will i be able to file for unemployment while i look for other work?

    • Adrian says:

      Seasonal employment is generally not considered for UI. Please check with the labor dept in your state.

  3. Josh says:

    I have a ruptured disc in my lower back due to an injury at home and i cannot perform my daily duties at work in construction. Can i draw unemployment until i find a job that does not require heavy lifting?

    • Adrian says:

      Depends.If you are out of work and actively looking for a job,you should be able to draw benefits.

  4. Nanci Lillie says:

    I need to move out of state to care for my mother who has cancer & needs someone to live with her but does not require full time care. I will be looking for work. Can I receive unemployment until I find a job.

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