Kai Dickerson
Community Specialist
Posted July 28, 2020

Work search requirements to keep unemployment are back, for some

During COVID-19 most states dropped the "work search" requirement. Some states have reinstated the rule.
Kai Dickerson
Community Specialist
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Work search requirements to keep unemployment are back, for some
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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.

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Kai Dickerson
Community Specialist
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dan potter

I have been trying to get my unemployment since april 27 2020 and have been unsuccesful due to website issues. When indid finally get ahold of someone I was told it would be set to start from April 27. It did not happen. I have not been able to find anything close enough at the my rate of pay. I am recovering from a major accident so i am limited as to what i can do. I still have not recieved any benefits.

1y
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Angie Rodriguez

I’ve been trying to get a job since May. I also have yet to receive anything from unemployment. I certify every 2 weeks like I’m supposed to, and nothing. Don’t get me started with the phone calls, I have not been able to talk to anyone in tha Unemployment office. The struggle is real.

1y
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ANDRE HUDGINS

There are jobs available, you may not be getting what you use to but there is work. The Government paid SOME people to stay at home while others still had to work, now you want to complain because you got comfortable. Not fair to those that didn’t get the extra money and still had to work. Stop whining and go to subway and get a job.

1y
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Warren Crawley

No work requirements in New Mexico yet

1y
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Debbie McMahan

TN has work search requirements if you have lost your job due to COVID. I have not received any unemployment pay, and all of the calls I am receiving are for $10.00-$13.00 an hour. I can't live off that amount. The jobs available before COVID was at least $18.00 to $20.00 hour. I was given Early retirement 3 years ago making $43,000.00. I think my age, is 1 factor. Because any interview I have went on there is no call back. I have worked in Accounting Receivables/Payable for 23 years.

1y
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Lenita Graves

In Washington state we have a requirement that people do one job search a week. I’m not finding it difficult, because there are plenty of online jobs available to apply for in my field.

1y
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Susan Schultz

It depends on the type of job and health of the individual. If you are an unemployed food service provider who is not at risk, I would say yes unless you are too scared and staying home.

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Margaret Hawkes

Thank you Kai for this update. God bless you and your family. Best, Margo Hawkes CRIS CALIFORNIA

1y
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Elizabeth Montoya

It should be a case by case, if the person is able to work, then yes. If the person has underlying health issues that catching Covid-19 could cost them their life, then no.

1y
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John Reynolds

When I asked my doctor if I should go back to work. She said it depends on the safety protocol. Then she mailed me the Advanced Directive booklet. I am at high risk for death if I get the. Covid 19.

1y
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