Unemployment Benefits in Wyoming
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The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services’ Unemployment Insurance Division administers the state’s unemployment insurance program. The division provides assistance to those who have found themselves out of a job and need some help until they can find a new position. Those Wyomians who are in this position should familiarize themselves with the policies and procedures of filing for unemployment benefits before diving into the process.
Eligibility for Unemployment in Wyoming
To qualify for benefits, you must be fully or partially unemployed. You must have worked for an employer covered by the state’s unemployment insurance laws, and you must have earned a minimum amount from that employer (or employers) over a 12-month period prior to your filing a claim.
Should you meet that qualification, you must also:
- Be unemployed through no fault of your own
- Be able and available to work
- Be legally authorized to work in the US
You must register with the Wyoming employment assistance service at wyomingatwork.com or at an office location near you. You must register within a week of filing your claim.
Eligibility Requirements Explained
Lost Your Job Through No Fault of Your Own
If you were laid off, your plant closed or moved away, you may be eligible for benefits. If you quit or your employer let you go because of some rule violation, you may not be eligible.
Able and Available
You must be mentally and physically able to work when you file your claim. You must also be available to accept an offer of suitable employment. “Suitable employment” is work you’re trained to do at a salary similar to what you’ve received in the past.
You must be a US citizen or be able to show proof you’re authorized to work in the US. In rare cases, H1-B visa holders may be eligible if their employer laid them off with a specific return date.
Monetary Qualification and the Base Period
To meet the monetary qualification, you must have earned a minimum amount of money (called “wage credits”) over a 12-month period called the base period. The base period is the first four of the last five quarters prior to your filing a claim.
In Wyoming, you must have earned at least $3,350 during your base period. You must have worked at least 6 months (two quarters) out of the base period, and your total base period wages must be 1.4 times the earnings in the quarter where you made the most money (your “high quarter wages”). If you worked consistently during the base period, you’re likely to meet this qualification.
The division’s examiners will use alternative base period measures if you do not meet the standard base period qualification. If you left your job because of injury or illness, and you received Worker’s Compensation, the division will use the hours you would have earned during the base period if you’d kept working as wage credits.
Note that you cannot receive unemployment and Worker’s Comp at the same time. Your compensation must have expired 60 days prior to filing a claim.
Calculating Your Weekly Benefits
The state uses base period wage credits to calculate how much you’ll receive each week, your weekly benefit amount (WBA). How much you’ll get is a function (4%) of your high quarter wages.
The state legislature sets the minimum and maximum WBA. Currently, the max is $475 and the minimum is $34.
You can get benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks in Wyoming. However, the duration is wage credit dependent.
During times of high unemployment, the state or federal government will authorize additional weeks of payments beyond your max duration. Currently, no such program is in operation.
Shortly after you file your initial claim, the division will mail a Notice of Monetary Determination. The notice will contain all the information regarding your wage credits and discussed in this section. This notice is not an indication that your claim is approved. You will receive a separate notice regarding your eligibility.
How to File a Claim for Unemployment in Wyoming
You can file an initial claim by calling the Wyoming Claims Center at (307) 473-3789. If living outside of Wyoming you can call (866) 729-7799 toll-free. You can also file online. If you are trying to file a claim against another state, you can call the UI Help Line at (307) 235-3264 to get the phone number and contact information for that state.
When you apply you will need:
- Your Social Security Number
- The name, mailing address, and phone number of your last employer
- The last day you worked
- If you worked outside of Wyoming within the last 18 months, you will also need the names and dates worked for those employers
Biweekly Claims and Maintaining Eligibility
To receive benefits, you must request a payment every two weeks. This process is often referred to as “filing a continuing claim.” States require this to make sure you are maintaining the eligibility status you had when you were approved for benefits.
You can request payment online or over the telephone. You may also use the “pay order” form and mail or fax it to the unemployment division.
Online filing at https://doe.state.wy.us/InetClaims/
Interactive Voice Response system: 307-473-3789
Pay order forms and the instructions on how to use them are at wyomingworkforce.org
Wyoming Department of Workforce Services
Unemployment Insurance Division
P.O. Box 2760
Casper, WY 82602
Fax: (307) 473-3726
Whatever method you use, you will have to answer several questions meant to determine your eligibility for that biweekly period. These questions include:
- Whether you are able and available to work
- Whether you have started or quit a new job
- Whether you are looking for work
- Whether you have earned any wages
- Whether you refused an offer of suitable employment
You must report any wages or reportable income, or whether you refused an offer of employment. Failure to report these matters could result in a loss of benefits, as the state monitors hiring and wage information reported to Workforce Services.
Part-time Work and Receiving Benefits
You may file a claim for benefits if your employer reduced your hours from full to part-time. You may also take a part-time job while you are receiving benefits. However, you must report your gross earnings. Your earnings will affect the WBA you receive.
The DWS will allow you to earn up to 50% of your WBA without penalty. After that, the DWS will deduct a dollar-for-dollar amount from your WBA. You will keep all the wages you earned, but your WBA will be reduced.
If you work more than 35 hours or your gross pay is equal to or greater than your WBA, you will not receive benefits that week.
The department may monitor the wage reports they receive from businesses. If you do not report wages, and an audit reveals this, you will create an “overpayment” (you get money you shouldn’t have) and you will have to repay the benefits you received.
Work Search Requirement
The state wants to make sure you’re looking for work. You must be able to show you are making a good faith effort by reporting your searches to the division.
You must make at least two verifiable job contacts per week. Keeping track of what you do will help you avoid problems. Keep note of the:
- date of contact
- employer’s name
- physical, mailing or internet address and phone number
- position applied for
- results of the contact
Some benefit recipients are exempt from this requirement. If you have a specific return to work date, if you are in a union hall or in DWS approved training, you may not have to meet the requirement. The DWS will inform you if you are exempt.
The DWS will determine that some need additional assistance finding work, and will select them for a federally mandated program to help some displaced workers. If you receive a notice that the state has chosen you for such a program, you have to participate or face a penalty, like losing your benefits.
Reasons for Denial of Benefits
If you do not meet the monetary eligibility requirements, the state will deny your claim for benefits. If you do meet the requirement, the state may deny your claim based on issues related to your separation from work. If your claim is successful, the state may suspend benefits or deny a weekly claim because you failed to remain eligible.
The examiner will look at the circumstances of how your employment ended. If you quit, the examiner will check to see whether you quit with good cause. If not, they will deny your claim. If you were discharged, they will look for evidence of misconduct. If the examiner believes such evidence exists, they will deny benefits.
A “good cause” to quit is one that shows something your employer did or failed to do left you with no other possible course of action but to quit. If your employer failed to pay you for an unreasonable period, that may be a good cause to quit. If your employer forced you to work in unsafe conditions, you may be eligible to receive benefits in spite of quitting work.
You will have to show that you made a reasonable, good faith effort to keep your job. Did you speak with your supervisor or Human Resources officer about the situation? Did you try repeatedly to remedy the situation before quitting?
Misconduct is defined as behavior that shows a disregard for your employer’s interests. For example, coming to work late frequently in spite of warnings from your boss will show the claims examiner that you disregarded your employer’s authority and interests. However, if you were late to work because of a serious illness and then your boss fired you soon after, your conduct may not rise to the level of misconduct in that case.
The decision whether to deny benefits based on misconduct is fact-dependent in some cases. You will have to show, for example, that the action that got you fired was a simple mistake in judgement or a situation beyond your control. Your boss may be able to fire you for many reasons; however, those reasons may not be misconduct as defined by unemployment law.
In determining whether you caused your separation from work, the examiner will contact your former employer for their side of the story. They may accept the employer’s word in many cases. You may have to argue your case on appeal.
The state may place a stop on your claim if you have not complied with some requirement, like failing to report starting a new job. They will make a determination whether you will continue to receive benefits.
What Happens When the State Denies Benefits
The DWS will mail a Notice of Determination when it has processed your claim. If they deny benefits, you may appeal to the Appeals Division. The appeal will be a hearing before an impartial judge where you will have the right to present evidence to make an argument to the judge.
You can find out more about the appeals process at our page on unemployment appeals in Wyoming.
- 100 West Midwest, Casper, WY 82601
- Send mail to this address: P.O. Box 2760, Casper, WY 82602-2760
- (307) 235-3264 HELP Line
- (307) 473-3789 Claims Center (For information on your UI Claim)
- (307) 235-3277 Fax
- (307) 473-3726 Fax
The claimant guidebook may be able to answer additional questions you have about the claims process and rules.
This page with forms has what you need to make specific requests, report missing checks and address things you will need to keep benefit payments coming.
The Wyoming UI FAQ has further information.