The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DWS) coordinates petitioners who are hoping to claim unemployment benefits with program funds. As a result, the department is responsible for establishing the program’s eligibility for unemployment requirements, which are standard across the country. The sections below explain how petitioners can determine ahead of time if they meet the WY unemployment insurance benefits requirements before they submit their applications. Likewise, the information that follows outlines the specific measures candidates need to take in order to claim UI funds each month. The sections also explain what petitioners can do if they are denied unemployment by the DWS.
What is unemployment in Wyoming?
Candidates who claim unemployment benefits in Wyoming may be eligible to receive UC funds. Enrollees, in turn, may use these program dollars to provide for themselves and their families while they are searching for new, gainful employment opportunities.
In fact, successful petitioners may be permitted to collect unemployment insurance benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks within a single calendar year. When petitioners file for unemployment insurance coverage, their claims remain active for a 52-week period. However, this does not indicate that petitioners are permitted to receive funding throughout that length of that time. UI does not serve as a long-term solution to job loss and the program is explicitly an interim support program.
In addition to maintaining a maximum enrollment period for WY unemployment recipients, the DWS also enforces minimum and maximum funding amounts that claimants may receive through their UI claim. The minimum weekly benefit amount (WBA) that claimants may receive through the program enrollment is $35. The maximum WBA petitioners may be eligible to receive is $489. These unemployment insurance payment limits are established annually, and they depend on typical weekly earnings for workers throughout the state.
What are the requirements to get unemployment in Wyoming?
In order to determine if candidates meet the Wyoming eligibility for unemployment stipulations that exist throughout the state, they must examine three specific factors in their petitions. These requirements are as follows:
- Financial eligibility: Claimants who wonder, “What are the requirements to get unemployment?” must first assess how much income they earned during their base periods. Base periods refer to the first four of the last five quarters of the calendar that ended before claimants submitted their UI petitions.
Within that time period, claimants must have worked during two or more of the quarters. Additionally, applicants must have earned at least $3,350 throughout the entirety of their base periods. Likewise, candidates’ total base period income must total at least 1.4 times what they earned during their highest base period quarters.
- Faultlessness regarding job loss: Unemployment insurance eligibility in WY states that only claimants who lost their jobs due to extraneous circumstances may receive program funds. Therefore, petitioners must be out of work due to reasons they themselves did not create. For example, claimants who are laid off or fired because their employers are permanently closing would qualify for UC. However, petitioners who were fired because they neglected their jobs or quit for personal reasons may not receive program funds.
- Pursuit of employment: Qualifications for unemployment also indicate that only petitioners who are able to work full-time and who are actively trying to find work may receive UC. Since UI is only a temporary fix for enrollees’ job loss issues, candidates must demonstrate that they are putting their best efforts forward to become reemployed. As a result, candidates who have scheduling conflicts or who do not have transportation to and from work are ineligible to receive UI.
How can I sign up for unemployment in Wyoming?
Petitioners living in-state or in a different state need to know how to apply for unemployment online in Wyoming. Applicants who are living locally have a phone number they may call if they would like to apply for unemployment benefits over the phone. Petitioners living out-of-state have the opportunity to call their own program number to apply as well.
Whether filing an online application for unemployment or orally submitting their claims, petitioners need to supply the DWS with the following information:
- Their Social Security Numbers.
- The date when they last worked.
- The name and contact information of their most recent employer, including the company’s phone number and mailing address.
- Employment history for any out-of-state companies that applicants worked for within the 18 months prior to submitting their materials.
All candidates who file for an unemployment claim are responsible for providing this information to the DWS. Failing to do so may negatively affect the way a candidate’s application is assessed, which could result in an unjust benefits denial or an overpayment from the department.
How do I claim unemployment benefits in Wyoming?
In order to claim unemployment benefits in Wyoming, petitioners must file for benefits. If enrollees submit their unemployment benefits claim online or over the phone, they must complete this activity every week. However, applicants who file using a pay order form that they receive through the mail are responsible for claiming benefits for unemployment every two weeks. In order for enrollees to complete this step online or over the phone, they will need to have the following information prepared:
- Login information:Candidates must have their Social Security Numbers ready, as well as their UI web portal usernames and passwords.
- Wage details: Claimants who worked during the weeks they are claiming benefits must disclose how many hours they worked and the gross income total they earned during that time.
- Compensation payment: Enrollees must also report if they received any non-wage payment. An example of this type of payment includes payout for unused vacation, sick or holiday pay. Other examples would be pension or severance compensation.
- Self-employment earnings: Petitioners who are self-employed need to record how much gross income they earned from their private businesses.
Furthermore, petitioners wondering how to claim unemployment benefits in WY must also remember they will need to verify that they are still physically able to work. In addition, claimants must also disclose whether or not their schedules prohibit them from accepting suitable full-time work opportunities.
Finally, petitioners who want to claim UI benefits must ensure they are meeting the DWS’ mandatory work search stipulations. To keep active a UI benefits claim, enrollees must ensure they are contacting two or more potential employers each week they expect to receive UC funds. Afterward, claimants must document their efforts in an organized reemployment log. Within this document, beneficiaries must disclose:
- The names of the companies and supervisors they contacted.
- Specific dates outlining when they reached out to these hiring managers.
- An explanation of how they contacted these potential employers.
- Their work search contacts’ phone numbers, mailing and email addresses.
- A summary of the type of work they were applying for.
- Updates relaying whether or not any subsequent action or contact came from their efforts.
How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Wyoming?
Claimants are notified that they need to prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Wyoming after they are paid their first UI benefits. The DWS informs candidates whether or not they are being audited and enrollees are chosen randomly to participate. This unemployment phone interview is part of the Benefits Accuracy Measurement (BAM) Program, an internal auditing process designed to eliminate unfair denials and overpayment of UC claims.
This unemployment interview with the claimant is an important step in the UC enrollment process. Failing the interview portions of these audits could result in applicants’ petitions being denied. In many cases, the questions asked during the unemployment insurance interview relate to various topics, including:
- Why petitioners lost their jobs.
- If applicants are properly completing the DWS’ work search requirements.
- Whether or not enrollees are accurately submitting their claims each week.
In some instances, the department may also need to conduct an unemployment interview with the employer where the applicants recently worked. However, these conversations do not take place simultaneously with the petitioners’ UI interviews.
In order to prepare for the UC interview, candidates must focus on providing as much accurate information as possible to DWS representatives. However, candidates will never have much notice before these random audits are conducted. As a result, the most efficient way to be ready for the unemployment phone interview is for the applicants to ensure they are consistently keeping accurate records. In addition to documenting their work search activities, claimants should keep track of how much:
- Income they earned.
- UC benefits they were paid.
- They worked.
What do I do if I am denied unemployment in Wyoming?
When claimants are denied unemployment in Wyoming, they have two potential levels of appeals they may utilize in their quests to have these initial determinations overturned. Employers also have these same opportunities available to them. When filing a first-level denied unemployment benefits appeal, petitioners have 28 calendar days from when the determinations were mailed to submit their requests. Claimants must submit in writing what decisions they want to appeal, as well as provide appropriate reasoning. Since most unemployment denial appeal hearings take place over the phone, applicants must provide phone numbers the state may use to contact them.
If candidates who have their unemployment benefits denied do not wish to participate in hearings, they can submit protest statements instead. These documents allow claimants and their employers to share new evidence with the division. However, if petitioners are denied UI once more, they may then file appeals and have their hearings.
Hearing officers are in charge of administering the UC denied appeal hearings. During these trials, both the employers and their supervisors are presented with the opportunity to explain their perspectives to the presiding officers. Afterward, these state representatives issue their determinations. If petitioners have their unemployment compensation benefits denied once more, they may file subsequent appeals to the commission to hear the cases.
How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in Wyoming?
A Wyoming federal unemployment extension provides program beneficiaries with a way to access UC funds beyond the state’s maximum enrollment period of 26 weeks but is rarely available. An unemployment benefits extension is offered by Congress on either a national or statewide level. However, these extensions are only issued during periods when rates of joblessness in an area are much higher than normal. In most cases, the DWS will inform qualifying candidates when a WY unemployment extension is available so they may take advantage of these supplemental benefits.
How do I contact the Wyoming unemployment office?
Petitioners and employers looking to contact the Wyoming unemployment office may do so either in person or over the phone. There is an unemployment insurance office located in most major cities across the state. Individuals may direct their inquiries to the DWS in Cheyenne, which can be found at:
614 S Greeley Highway
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002
Alternatively, enrollees hoping to speak with a UI benefits office representative may also connect with one of the state’s Workforce Centers. The Cheyenne center is located is at:
1510 E Pershing Boulevard
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When should I apply for unemployment?
Right away. In the state of Wyoming, you should file your unemployment claim as soon as you lose your job. Don’t wait. The state does not give you credit for the time between the day you lose your job and the day you file your claim. Backdating an unemployment claim is not allowed.
What is a ReliaCard?
In Wyoming, you can choose to have your unemployment benefits paid to you through a ReliaCard Visa Prepaid Debit Card. This card works the same way any debit card works and can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted. If you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits, you will be given the option to use the ReliaCard as your method of receiving payments.
Can I deposit funds into my ReliaCard also?
No. Only the state can deposit funds into your ReliaCard. No one else can deposit funds into that account. Also, the ReliaCard can not be used as a credit card, the funds in your account do not earn interest and the card can not be overdrawn.
Do I have to pay taxes on my unemployment benefits?
Yes, unemployment benefits are considered taxable income and must be paid to the IRS. Once you are approved for benefits, you will have the option of having 10% of your benefits withheld and sent to the IRS.