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Unemployment Eligibility and Qualifications
General Benefits Eligibility Criteria
Montana unemployment benefits eligibility is based on your wages over your base period (the first four of the last five completed quarters), the reason you are out of work, your ability and availability for work, your efforts to find work, and your legal right to work in the U.S. If you do not meet all of the Montana unemployment eligibility criteria, you could be denied benefits, or your benefit amount could be reduced. The best way to find out if you are eligible for unemployment benefits is to apply for unemployment insurance with accurate information.
Work Eligibility Criteria
To meet work eligibility criteria for Montana unemployments benefits, you must:
- Be out of work through no fault of your own
- Had your work hours reduced due to lack of work
- Have left work for a reason related to the work and allowed by law
- Have moved with your spouse due to military reassignment
- Be able and available for work
- Be actively seeking work
- Register with Job Services
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Wages Eligibility Criteria
Montana wages eligibility criteria is based on your wages earned during your entire base period:
- Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 times your wages in the highest paid quarter of the base period, and at least 7 percent of the state’s average annual wage
- Your wages in the entire base period must be at least 50 percent of the state’s average annual wage.
- If you did not earn enough income in your regular base period to qualify for UI benefits, you can use the Alternate Base Period (ABP), which is the last four quarters of your base period.
Unemployment Availability Limits
Your benefits could be canceled or reduced if you become ineligible during your benefit period. You could become ineligible if you:
- Did not provide accurate information, did not respond to requests for information, or did not file a payment request on time.
- Fail to register for work at jobs.mt.gov
- You worked at least 40 hours or worked your regular (customary) hours for at least two weeks in a row.
- You earned two times your Weekly Benefit Amount or more.
- You answered “No” to the question, “Do you want to file for this week?”
- Any combination of the above.
There are currently no extensions available for Montana unemployment benefits. If you receive unemployment benefits, you will be notified if special extensions become available.