Unemployment work search requirements are complicated. Generally, you need to be ready, willing, and available to work, and actively applying for jobs. With the huge increase in unemployment claims due to the coronavirus pandemic, many states simplified the claim process. However, as is the case with Florida, this may be changing.
Requirements vary by state, so you’ll need to check and stay up to date on your state’s website for specific qualifications, but here are some general guidelines for unemployment job searching.
For more unemployment info, check out the unemployment resource center here.
When claiming unemployment benefits, you’ll need to affirm that you are ready, willing, and able to work. Essentially this means that you are mentally and physically capable of working and starting employment immediately.
For instance, if a lack of childcare or transportation would prevent you from working, this could impact your unemployment eligibility. Additionally, if you are suffering from an illness or injury and not able to work, you might not be eligible. However, if you have a disability recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and would be able to work with reasonable accommodation, you would qualify for unemployment.
You must be actively looking for work to receive money for unemployment. Again, specific requirements are determined by each state, but broadly this means you are searching for jobs each week.
Some states accept the following as searching for work:
States will verify your job search in different ways. Some may simply ask you to check a box saying you’re looking for work, while others will require you to prove you’re looking and applying for work.
This may mean sending in a list of employers that you’ve reached out to or application confirmations for specific jobs, or inputting it to a state’s online unemployment portal. Some state websites say that they will verify any work search records you submit.
There are certain instances where you would be exempt from searching for work while still eligible to receive unemployment. Though you’ll need to confirm with your state’s unemployment officials that you’re exempt from this very common requirement.
You may be exempt if any of the following apply:
You are on a temporary layoff or furlough, and have a definite return-to-work date.
You are a union member who must obtain work through the union.
You are participating in a training program approved by the state unemployment agency.
Always check your state’s website for specific rules and instructions, and call an employee if you’re unsure of anything.
Keeping an accurate log of your work search is important for streamlining your unemployment claim process. If you have access to Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, these spreadsheet programs can help you outline the following info:
Be sure to include relevant information like the company name, the point of contact (probably a hiring manager) and their email address or phone number, the date you applied, where and how you applied, and status of job (interview scheduled, rejected, etc).
Some job search sites like Monster.com, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn keep track of jobs that you apply for through their site, which you may find helpful.
Do you have any unemployment work search tips to share?