Englehorn said it seems like the state implemented the system to discourage people in the unemployment system from continuing to file, and he knows some people have given up because it’s “not worth it” to go through so many hoops.
Leah Reeder, a spokesperson at the Idaho Department of Labor, said 80% to 90% of the claimants who have been required to verify their identities haven’t experienced problems, and the only intention is to prevent fraud.
“It’s designed to prevent people from filing for unemployment insurance using a stolen identity, which is one of the big methods people are using to defraud the system,” Reeder said. “If a claimant is having difficulty, they can contact us.”
Englehorn said calling is its own waiting game, with sometimes hour-long waits and confusion from those he does talk to.
“It seems like the people that I have talked to at the Department of Labor or ID.Me, they seem like great people. It seems like the systems have really failed them,” Englehorn said. “Their hands seem to be tied. It seems like they’re doing the best they can, it’s just an impossible system.”
Reeder said many staffers who answer phones at the Department of Labor are newer, but there is a quality control process of reviewing notes from calls to make sure questions are appropriately answered, and the average wait time is less than 20 minutes with the exception of high-volume days like Mondays. But if a caller thinks a question isn’t being answered or there’s confusion, Reeder said she recommends asking to speak to a supervisor.