BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.11.206, 24.11.450A, and 24.11.452A pertaining to response times in unemployment insurance
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On February 25, 2022, at 10:00 a.m., the Department of Labor and Industry (department) will hold a public hearing via remote conferencing to consider the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules. There will be no in-person hearing. Interested parties may access the remote conferencing platform in the following ways:
a. Join Zoom Meeting, https://mt-gov.zoom.us/j/81376296517, Meeting ID: 813 7629 6517, Passcode: mVLdq6G*EB; or
b. Dial by telephone, +1 406 444 9999 or +1 646 558 8656, Meeting ID: 813 7629 6517, Passcode: 2410318560.
The hearing will begin with a brief introduction by department staff to explain the use of the videoconference and telephonic platform. All participants will be muted except when it is their time to speak.
2. The department will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this public hearing or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact the department no later than 5:00 p.m., on February 18, 2022, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Heather Brutosky, Unemployment Insurance Division, P.O. Box 8020, Helena, Montana 59604-8020; telephone (406) 444-9489, facsimile (406) 444-2699, or Montana Relay Service at 711; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. The rules as proposed to be amended provide as follows, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:
24.11.206 TIME ALLOWED AND PROCEDURE FOR FILINGS AND SUBMISSIONS (1) through (2)(b) remain the same.
e-mail transmission to the file transfer service or the e-mail address electronic submission by means designated by the department.
(d) remains the same.
(3) Interested parties shall respond to initial requests for information from the department within eight calendar days. Interested parties shall respond to any subsequent request for information from the department within two business days.
(a) These times may be extended solely on a finding by the department that the interested party had good cause for the untimely response.
(3) Claimants and employers are allowed eight days to respond to department requests for information pertaining to a benefit claim. A timely response by mail must be received by the department no later than the established deadline. Each response must identify the person responding and address fully the department's questions.
(4) An employer who, without good cause, provides an untimely or incomplete response to a department request for information may forfeit interested party status and the right to credit for any overpayment, pursuant to 39-51-605, MCA, and ARM 24.11.208 and 24.11.617.
(5) Claimants and employers are allowed ten days to submit a request for an appeal of a determination, redetermination, or decision of an appeals referee relating to a claimant's entitlement to or eligibility for benefits or to an employer's chargeability for benefits. A timely request for an appeal by mail must be received by the department no later than the established deadline. In the absence of an appeal, a determination, redetermination, or decision becomes final ten days after the determination, redetermination, or decision was mailed by the department to the party's last known address.
(6) The department may allow the untimely submission of information or request for an appeal only when the department determines that the claimant or employer had good cause to be untimely.
(7) Any individual may obtain an answer to an inquiry concerning the unemployment insurance program by submitting the inquiry by telephone, facsimile, mail, or e-mail.
AUTH: 39-51-301, 39-51-302, MCA
IMP: 39-51-301, 39-51-603, 39-51-605, Title 39, chapter 51, parts 11 through 13, and 21 through 24, MCA
REASON: Section (2) is amended to broaden the types of electronic submission which may be received. Section (3) is amended to specify that only initial requests for information have an eight-day response timeline; all further requests for information must receive response in two business days. This timeline will permit speedier and more timely adjudication of claims. Section (4) is proposed to be stricken because it is duplicative of ARM 24.11.208. Section (5) is proposed to be stricken because it is duplicative of ARM 24.11.450A. Section (6) is proposed to be stricken because good cause for an untimely submission may be considered on redetermination or appeal. Section (7) is proposed to be stricken because it is unnecessary to state in rule the departmental policy of responding to inquiries to which responses may be given.
24.11.450A NONMONETARY DETERMINATIONS AND REDETERMINATIONS (1) remains the same.
(2) The department shall investigate, when necessary, prior to issuing a formal, written determination on claimant's qualification or eligibility for benefits.
(3) Interested parties shall respond to all department requests for information pertinent to an investigation within eight days of the request, unless the delay in responding was for "good cause" as defined in ARM 24.11.204. When a claimant fails to respond within eight days and in the absence of "good cause," the department shall proceed with the adjudication process. When an employer fails to respond within eight days or provides an inadequate response to a relevant and material request for information from the department, the department shall determine the employer forfeited the right to participate in the adjudication of the claim as an interested party and forfeited the right to credit for any benefit overpayment created by the employer's untimely or inadequate response, pursuant to 39-51-605, MCA, and ARM 24.11.208.
(4) through (8) remain the same but are renumbered (2) through (6).
(7) In the absence of a timely request for redetermination or appeal as set forth in this rule, the prior decision of the department or appeals referee is final.
(9) through (13) remain the same but are renumbered (8) through (12).
AUTH: 39-51-301, 39-51-302, MCA
IMP: 39-51-605, 39-51-2202, 39-51-2203, 39-51-2205, 39-51-2301, 39-51-2302, 39-51-2303, 39-51-2304, 39-51-2402, 39-51-2507, 39-51-2508, 39-51-2511, 39-51-2602, 39-51-3201, 39-51-3202, 39-51-3206, MCA
REASON: Reasonable necessity exists to amend this rule to shorten and simplify the administrative rules. In addition, its timeliness provisions overlap with those set forth in ARM 24.11.206. As such, in the interest of clarity and consistency in the rules, language is proposed to be removed. New (7) is designed to eliminate any possible ambiguity with regard to finality of unappealed determinations from unemployment insurance.
24.11.452A ELIGIBILITY FOR BENEFITS (1) through (5)(a) remain the same.
(b) fails to provide information requested by the department timely
within eight days of the date of a mailed, faxed, telephoned, or electronic request;
(c) through (8) remain the same.
AUTH: 39-51-301, 39-51-302, MCA
IMP: 39-51-504, 39-51-2101, 39-51-2104, 39-51-2115, 39-51-2304, MCA
REASON: Reasonable necessity exists to amend (5)(b) in conformance with other proposed rule changes in this proposal. The change will ensure uniformity of timing to respond to requests for information.
4. Concerned persons may present their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to Heather Brutosky, Unemployment Insurance Division, P.O. Box 8020, Helena, Montana 59604-8020; facsimile (406) 444-2699; or e-mail email@example.com, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., February 25, 2022.
5. The department maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency. Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request, which includes the name and e-mail or mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies the particular subject matter or matters regarding which the person wishes to receive notices. Such written request may be mailed or delivered to the contact person in paragraph 2 above or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the agency.
6. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, do not apply.
7. Pursuant to 2-4-111, MCA, the department has determined that the rule changes proposed in this notice will not have a significant and direct impact upon small businesses.
8. Department staff has been designated to preside over and conduct this hearing.
/s/ QUINLAN L. O'CONNOR
Quinlan L. O'Connor
Alternate Rule Reviewer
/s/ LAURIE ESAU
Laurie Esau, Commissioner
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY
Certified to the Secretary of State January 18, 2022.