During COVID-19 most states dropped the "work search" requirement. Some states have reinstated the rule.
Normally, all states have “work search” requirements to help encourage unemployment insurance recipients to get back to work faster. However, most states waived these requirements when COVID-19 hit the US this past spring because the public health emergency necessitated social-distancing, in addition to causing shutdowns that led to massive layoffs and furloughs.
Despite job opportunities remaining scarce, some states are starting to roll back the rules. Why? Not only is the historic surge in jobless claims overwhelming unemployment agencies, it’s also draining their unemployment insurance trust funds. As of June 30, 2020, more than 31 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits. And, more than 1 million Americans have filed new claims every week since mid-March.
Arkansas set its work search rules back in place on June 28, 2020 with Missouri and Nebraska on July 5, 2020 and July 12, 2020, respectively. (Incidentally, Texas was set to resume on July 6, but has since decided to postpone it until the end of July 2020.) Workers don’t necessarily have to find a job to continue getting benefits, though essential businesses are now open and hiring. But unemployed workers do need to prove to their states that they’ve been looking for jobs. Failing to do so could jeopardize your benefits and ultimately could get you disqualified from receiving benefits at all.
We pulled together information on work search requirements for #Arkansas, #Missouri, and #Nebraska below.
Arkansas: reinstated work search rule on June 28, 2020
- All individuals receiving regular unemployment insurance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment (PEUC), Extended Benefits (EB), and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits are required to seek employment each week in order to maintain eligibility for benefits.
- The number of job contacts required each week is based on geographic location.
- Individuals receiving regular unemployment benefits or PEUC who live in larger metropolitan areas must make 3 contacts a week. These areas include Benton, Cleveland, Craighead, Crittenden, Faulkner, Garland, Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lonoke, Madison, Miller, Perry, Poinsett, Pulaski, Saline, Sebastian, and Washington counties.
- Individuals residing in rural areas must make 2 job contacts each week.
For qualified work search activities in Arkansas or other questions, visit the AR government site or the AR Unemployment site, or call the UI Hotline 1-844-908-2178.
Missouri: reinstated work search rule on July 5, 2020
- To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you are required to complete at least 3 work search activities each week.
- Any part-time work performed during the week also satisfies the completion of a work search activity on a per day basis.
- Enter your work search activities during the week or when filing your Weekly Request for Payment. After logging in, select Weekly Request for Payment and then select Enter Work Search Details. Click the Save button after each work search activity is entered. (Note: failure to complete 3 work search activities may result in the denial of benefits.)
- You may update your work searches anytime throughout the week, but you will still need to file your Weekly Request for Payment after the week has ended in order to receive benefits for the week.
Qualified work search activities in Missouri include
- Accessing, searching, applying for for work line, including MoJobs.gov
- Participating in a Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) appointment
- Submitting a paper application for employment
- Attending job interview(s), including virtual job interviews
Nebraska: reinstated work search rule on July 12, 2020
- Work search activities are required for those receiving benefits through Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI); Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA); Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC); or Extended Benefits (EB).
- The work search requirement does not apply to people with an employer-confirmed recall date within 112 days of their layoff; those in approved training; union members with a hiring hall; people in the Short-Time Compensation program
- All other claimants will be required to perform and report reemployment activities each week to remain eligible for benefits.
Qualified work search activities in Nebraska include
- Completing an application (online or in-person) with an employer
- Looking for work using online job banks
- Attending a job skills class or workshop
- Meeting with a job coach or career counselor
Do you think your state should require anyone on #unemployment to actively look for work during the #Coronavirus or lose their unemployment benefit? Share your thoughts in the comments below.