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 Montana 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.

Want to know your weekly benefit rate? Use our free and easy to use calculator to know your benefit payment.

  1. I was let go by my employer. It was stated “administration has decided to end my employment” I believe my former employer is doing a workforce reduction there was about 5 employees that the administration decided to end there employment. I have had my job for 3 years and believe i was let go unfairly and through no fault of me. I was not written up or told of a reason. I asked why i was let go and they told me they did not have to say why. I am going to file for unemployment and state my employer is going through a workforce reduction since they reserved there right to not tell me why they let me go. Will i receive unemployment in the state of montana.

    • Hi, Joseph – you won’t know for sure until you apply. Once you submit your claim for benefits, the state of Montana also will reach out to your employer to ask about why you were separated from employment. If your employer supports your claim of a reduction in force, it’s reasonable to think you’ll be approved for benefits as long as you meet all other eligibility criteria. But if your employer refutes your claim, it may be denied, in which case you can appeal the decision.

  2. Dear Unemployment Division:

    I cannot get through the 2545 phone number– ever.
    I had been working my job 32 or 33 hours per week for the past three years.
    I injured myself on the job.
    I have taken the past week off from work.
    My boss is asking me if I can work.
    I still cannot.
    Can I quit so the boss can find another worker?
    Or, do I need to be fired (let go) in order to qualify for unemployment?

    • Hi, Che – if you were injured while on the job, you may be better off checking into a worker’s compensation claim. Does your company have an HR division? If so, you can check with someone on that team about what your options are when it comes to workplace injuries. In general, in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits, you’ll need to have lost your job through no fault of your own – for example, through a layoff or reduction in force. Being unable to work because of a workplace injury is an entirely different situation.

  3. I am a service employee at a hotel and our hours are cut during the non summer months, I am job attached. Can i fle for unemployment. I have called the UI office several times but there is never anyone to answer the calls.

    • Hi, Sophia – what number are you calling? It looks like there are multiple entry points to the Montana Unemployment Insurance Division. If you try multiple numbers and still can’t get through, you may also try emailing your question to The specifics of your claim will be tricky. If your hours are reduced for the summer, with a firm date for when they’ll increase again, then you may not qualify for benefits. So it’s good to talk with someone directly with Montana’s system who can consider your specific situation.

  4. I was let go however my supervisor refused to put it in writing. I am having surgery but she let me go two months prior to surgery and told me we could revisit my employment than. I was given no choice or an option for a reduced schedule or any type of accommodation. I have never had any disciplinary action prior to this nor been disciplined for attendance. I was given no choice or alternative option.

    • Dear Stacy,
      I’m sorry for your troubles with your employer. You can check with the EOEC (Equal Opportunity Employment Commission) about steps to take. If your employer had an HR office, there should be some record of your employment status. Montana is a “right to work” state which means employers have more rights than employees (the name is misleading) so you may not have the ability to get compensation. If you file for unemployment insurance, however, the Montana office will investigate the reason for your separation. Filing for benefits may be the best option for you.


  5. It that time of the year when Holidays hit and we are out of work for many days. I am a School Bus Driver for First Student here in Billings, Montana. My Union Local 190 stated we can collect Unemployment when we are off due to the School being off. Next week we are off Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for Thanksgiving break. How do I exactly file those 3 days? Also, in December for Christmas we are off from December 23 to January 1 (8 Days with no pay) that is a huge burden on me and my family. How do I go about filing this? I will be returning back to work on Monday December 2nd for the first break. Then back after Christmas Break on January 2, 2020. The questions for filing do not have specifics. So how exactly do we state? Thanks. Mr. Pasquale D’Anna

    • Pasquale,

      I suggest you reach out to the Unemployment Office in your state. UI benefits are generally not offered to seasonal workers and temp. time off from work may not be entertained. Please call the Unemployment Office.

  6. I am currently working two jobs for a total of on an average 50-55 hours a week. My main job is 40 with the other being a part time job that is between 10-15 hours a week on average. In a week or two I will be laid off for a new months but I will be “Job attached” with a set date to come back. However. With that said. My question is if unemployment will take into account that I am used to working 50-55 hours when they calculate my unemployment benefits and the amount of hours i can work I can work while I am off from my normal job. My employer at second job is looking to give me some more hours (up to 20 a week) and I am trying to calculate my budget and bills for the time I have off.

    • Robert,

      Since you seem to have multiple employment arrangements, please call the Claims Center and speak to a representative regarding your situation.

  7. My employer has substantially cut my hours back to one shift a week. I am a full time student and due to the cut backs I am having difficulties. I have not been told why my hours have been cut back. However, my employer gives preference to students who come back on break, taking the shifts from the rest of the employees. Can I claim unemployment when they are giving me barely 4 hours of work and they have not indicated why? (Also my manager seems to resent the fact that I am in nursing school, and in fact told me l would just be changing poopy dipers and bed pans)

    • Ashkey,

      UI benefits are only offered to claimants who lose employment (full or partial) due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  8. I am moving from Florida to Montana immediately following my end of service from active duty military next spring, will Montana allow for me to file for unemployment without having lived there? I intend to find work during the summer then go to school in the fall.

    • Jay,

      I don’t think you should have an issue with your resident status. Please go ahead and call the Unemployment Office to understand the UI program administered in the state.

    • Lee,

      Seasonal employment does not qualify due to nature and scheduled time off from work. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  9. I was fired/let go due to not being able to find daycare for my children. I asked for a reduction in hours and was granted that however it was temporary. At the end to the 2 weeks I was let go. Would I be able to receive unemployment benefits?

    • Lori,

      You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  10. I worked in the state of MT for 11 years. This past Feb 2018 I relocated with my husband to Florida (he works for the federal government and was transferred to Florida). Can I claim unemployment benefits in Florida under the “Trialing Spouse” Law while I search for a job?

  11. I put in my two weeks notice with my current job on march 31st because i found another job, which I will start at on the 15th. I have not been scheduled to work since tuesday april 3rd at my current job. I have called every day, and my coworkers and my manager says the schedule has only been done a one day at a time, which is not normal. I should also say its not normal for me to have 3-4 days off in a row. what do I do?

    • Rachel,

      If that is the nature of your job, I am guessing we have to live with it. You may call the Unemployment Office for further discussion.

  12. My husband works at an middle school as a paraprofessional. Every year they have to sign a contract stating they will be back after summer vacation for the following school year. He does not receive a paycheck during summer vacation. Can he file for unemployment?

    • Seasonal employment does not qualify due to the nature of work. Please call the Unemployment Office for confirmation.

  13. I moved to momtana about 1.5 years ago. I transferred with the company I was working for. I then quit to pursue another job which I have been at for a year in March. I may have to have treatment for cervical cancer and would move back home (out of state) to be with friends and family during treatment. But following treatment I would be moving to Texas and looking for Work immediately. But I will need some source of income until then which I would hope to only be a couple months if that. Would I be eligible for unemployment? I also wouldn’t be moving back to where my job is as I couldn’t afford to live there on the wages I was earning.

    • Jamie,

      Unfortunately, personal reasons such as health issues are not considered. You may not qualify. Please inquire further with the labor dept in your state.

  14. I collected unemployment until I reached my MBA. This December will be one year since I started my claim. I am a full time college student, will I be able to receive unemployment again since a new year will begin?

  15. I had a seizure on the job. This is the first seizure I have had and my boss is telling me they can’t keep me due to restrictions put on me by the doctors. I work as a roofer so the elements can be quite harsh especially in 90 degree plus temperatures. Would I qualify for unemployment?

    • You may not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if the health condition puts you off work for some time. If the condition is work related, please explore workers compensation scheme.

  16. I’m leaving for maternity leave and not getting paid for it cause I have been employed here for 10 months and in order to get paid for maternity leave I have to be here a year. Will I be able to qualify for unemployment

    • You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  17. Hello I have another question regarding the answer I received about a previous question. I am wondering if I would be eligible to file for un employment benefits under the circumstances that I quit my job because I felt I was being treated poorly and unfairly and that I was in a hostile work environment. I do not have any documentation to prove this other then my own personal day to day experiences. I am unsure if my conworker would support my case because I feel she would fear of loosing her job because of going
    Against the company if the employer
    Chose to argue my case.

  18. Will I be eligible for benefits if I quit my job because I felt I was being treated poorly and unfairly?

    • Yes, you can be eligible to claim UI benefits under such circumstances. Make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute raised by your employer.

  19. I’m moving out of town to a new town. I’ve worked at my job 2 years full time can I collect unemployment till I find a job in the new town

  20. Hello,

    I currently work at a local school district in Montana and I am about to be laid off for the summer, but I am also taking college classes and considered a full time student. I know in Montana paraprofessionals cannot claim unemployment throughout the summer but full time student can. Is it possible for me to receive unemployment because I am a full time student?

    • Either ways, you may not be eligible.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further confirmation.

  21. I have been employed for the previous 10 years, was laid off, received UI, went out on my own as a consultant to take some work and pay additional bills. It was about 5 weeks work, did not file/receive UI during that time. I have paid all required taxes, am I able to receive UI again?

    • You can continue applying, provided there is balance in your account.

      Please call the claims center for more information.

  22. I need to know if I am eligible for UI based on receiving a non-disciplinary separation. I have been employed with the federal government for the past 15 years with excellent and superior evaluation scores. However my federal government office is being closed and my job duties are being moved 300 miles away. If I fail to accept the directed reassignment being offered through the non-disciplinary separation will I be eligible to receive unemployment?

    Thanks for your time.

    • Robert,

      You should be eligible on the basis of what you’ve told us.

      Please speak to the Unemployment Office in your state to confirm before applying.

  23. Thank you for the response. I just don’t understand why they have to make things so difficult. I’ll be eligible in a week but the force me to go without during the Holidays. It’s enough to make any educated man frustrated.

    Merry Christmas, belated.

    • Apologies Jonathan.

      Well, if you do not meet the base period and alternate base period requirements, you will not be eligible.

      One cannot do much about it. You may want to contact the labor authorities in your state for confirmation.

  24. I was eligible for unemployment benefits but never filed any weekly reports because i didnt want the benefits i only filed because a friend said i needed my employer is disagreeing with thr reason i stated i was fired. Having never recieved benefits it went to a redtermination. What i want to kniw is since the reason if firing was differentis it fraud? At the time i put the only reason they gave and just put i didnt agree with it

    • You may want to call the claims center and speak to the representatives to get a clearer picture on what reason you must be using.

  25. If I was granted benefits and paid the benefits but after was informed I had to reapeal or pay back those benefits. The benefits were paid as I understood, were from my previous employer. The employer that fired me did not report any income to the IRS but took deductions from my checks and wrote the deductions on a sticky note sometimes and put it on my check from her personal account. When I applied for unemployment they said there was no income reported from herbut enough to draw from previous employer so how can they request I pay any of it back?

    • Well, the Unemployment Office can better answer this question.

      If you’re unhappy with the decision, please file an appeal with the adjudicator.

  26. I have been working for a temp agency since feb 2015 I recently lost my position after 9 months an I eligible for ui?

    • Temp jobs do not generally qualify.

      Please check with your employer if they pay relevant taxes into the system on your behalf.

  27. I was recently laid off for the winter months and am expected to return next spring. I have worked for my current employer since June of this year. I am being deemed “Not Monetarily Eligible” by the state but they’re only looking at June’s earnings. Why don’t they take into consideration what I have earned over the past 6 months as a whole? My employer is on board for me to receive the benefits as they want me to return next spring. What can I do about this?

  28. I work in a shop with a hard concrete floor. My job requires a lot of walking, standing while working and I have been diagnosed w/ arthritis in my hip. Some days the hard surface makes the pain unbearable. If I quit due to a medical condition- can I apply and receive unemployment?

    • Generally, personal reasons such as medical are not considered. However, harsh work conditions can aid in your favor.

      Please check with the labor authorities in your state for further advice.

      • I worked for the same company for 14 years from a satellite office in the town where I live. Due to re-structuring the company has offered me a new job but I would now be required to drive 65 miles one way every day – no longer able to work out of the satellite office. I don’t want to travel that far each day- am I eligible to apply for unemployment?

        • You can be eligible due to the “distance” factor.

          Please call the Unemployment Office in your state to confirm the mechanics.

  29. I was hired out of state (North Dakota) to work 12 hr. 20 day stints. Work has slowed and my hours reduced to 6 per. day. My employer is starving me out. I have to pay 250 for rent, gas and food to travel 630 miles to report to work, all to have my hours cut in half and my wages reduced by 60%. This has been a continuous problem for 4 months now. I am applying for work in Montana, but I am borrowing money just to return to work in N.D. I have already lost an offer in Montana because I was unavailable at the time it was made due to employment in N.D. Can I quit my job, and take u.i. until I gain employment in Montana?

  30. I moved to Montana on a job offer in May 2015. I came with the intention of living in my RV as a residence. The RV parks close come winter and then I will have no place to park my RV and live. If I move back to the state where I came from and quit my job in Montana can I collect unemployment?

  31. I was notified yesterday that my job (working for the State) was Rifted, and that there is no longer a need for my position. I was offered another position but I feel that I would not be able to work the 12 to 14 hours a day to hold the position they offered. If I refuse this offer, will I be able to draw any unemployment benefits?

  32. I wanted to know if I would be eligible for unemployment if I quit my job because I am scared of my employer. He is verbally abusive to me and to our clients, throws things in the office and has been sexual inappropriate?

  33. I have a severe leg injury that I have had 2 surgeries on and it is going to require another one. I will be unable to work for 3 to 9 months. Can I file for unemployment?

    • You will not be eligible to receive unemployment since the injury/surgery puts you off work for sometime. If the injury was work related, please explore workers compensation scheme.

  34. i worked in montana in billings for 2 months and then was laid off so i moved back to wahsington state. can i still file for unemployment in montana fi i live in washington?

    • With just two months of employment, you will not qualify for unemployment insurance.

      If you’ve worked before the last job and have about an year of continous employment, please consider applying for it.

  35. 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?

  36. 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?

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

  37. 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?

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

  38. 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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