DALLAS — Updated at 4 p.m. with additional details.
The Texas Workforce Commission announced Tuesday it is reinstating the work search requirement for people receiving unemployment in Texas. The requirement, which has been waived during the COVID-19 pandemic, goes back into effect on July 6.
This means those receiving benefits in Texas will have to conduct weekly job searches to remain eligible for payments. This is what TWC is referring to when it tells you how many ‘contacts’ you must make after you sign up for unemployment.
For the two weeks starting July 6, and each two weeks thereafter, when recipients make unemployment payment requests, they will be eligible for benefits as long as they can attest to making three attempts each week to find a new job.
Here is what the TWC recognizes as a true attempt to find new employment.
Benefits recipients don’t have to show proof of their job search activity, unless TWC asks for it. Anyone on unemployment should keep detailed records of their work search activity just in case they are asked to produce it.
The state says those receiving unemployment benefits will need to complete at least three applications or interviews per week.
TWC says in parts of the state where the economy has been hit particularly hard, the required attempts to find employment each week may be fewer than three, but the agency will let people know if they are in that special circumstance.
Everyone who is getting benefits and lives in Texas also has to register at workintexas.com. That’s a job site affiliated with the TWC.
It currently lists more than half a million available jobs. People can actually do their required job searches there.
TWC has been shoring up that site because the agency knows there will likely be a rush of people signing up (because they are required to). The state wants to avoid the crashes that occurred when the online unemployment application system was overwhelmed earlier in the pandemic.
Those who have a job, but are furloughed, are exempt from the work search requirement as long as they have a specific return to work date with their employer that falls within 12 weeks of their layoff.
Many self-employed Texas have been newly-eligible for unemployment benefits because of the federal CARES Act.
They are also exempt from searching for jobs when the requirement is reinstated, but they will be required to take at least three steps each week toward reopening their businesses. Again, people are advised to keep detailed records of those activities in case TWC asks for verification.
Click here for TWC’s announcement about the resumption of the work search requirement.
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