The Texas Workforce Commission will reinstate pre-COVID-19 requirements to access some benefits starting next month as the state continues to relax business restrictions.
Beginning Nov. 1, unemployed Texans will have to prove they’re searching for jobs before receiving unemployment insurance benefits. The change also applies to parents receiving child care subsidies, who will have to document their employment searches in order to access funds to help cover childcare.
“All individuals receiving unemployment benefits will need to complete the designated number of work searches, beginning at the date listed in their work search notification document,” according to the commission.
Anyone filling an initial unemployment claim or an additional claim in Nov. 1 will have to documented beginning Nov. 8. Texans who already have active unemployment benefit claims will have to document their search for employment beginning Nov. 15.
Additional details on the requirements will be sent to those claiming unemployment insurance in the mail or through the website ui.texasworkforce.org. Documenting a job hunt is a federal requirement, according to the commission.
The commission noted Tuesday that there are more than 695,000 job postings on it’s employment website WorkInTexas.org. As of September, there were 1.17 million Texans without work out of the state’s 14.2 million-person workforce, for an unemployment rate of 8.3%. Of those 1.17 million, some 13,826 were in the Deep East Texas Workforce Development Area, leaving the region with a 9.1% unadjusted unemployment rate.
The most recent move by Gov. Greg Abbott to reopen aspects of the Lone Star State’s economy took effect Wednesday as bars around Texas were allowed to open at 50% capacity. As of Wednesday, 85 of Texas’ 254 counties met the requirements for that reopening.
Texas Workforce Commission Executive Director Ed Serna acknowledged the ongoing pandemic even as reinstating the work-search requirement was announced.
“Let me be clear: we are not over it. But we’re seeing employment opportunities begin to bounce back in Texas as our economy restarts,” he said in a statement. “There are opportunities out there and getting Texans back to work and businesses up and running again will create even more.”
Workers who were furloughed but have return dates within 12 weeks of when they were laid off are exempt from the documentation requirements, according to the commission, as are self-employed individuals who plan to reopen their businesses.
For working parents, the requirement to document their job search to get subsidized child care also takes effect Nov. 1, though the commission noted “most parents on the program will continue to be covered until Nov. 27.”
Those parents already enrolled in the program are covered under a grace period if they’ve received three or more months of child care following a permanent job loss, according to the organization.