Texas Workforce Commission allowing unemployment benefits for claimants refusing to return to work due to COVID-19

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The Texas Workforce Commission’s headquarters building was closed on April 2, 2020 as tens of thousands of Texans were trying to get through online and on the phone to file unemployment applications. (KXAN Photo/Jody Barr)

AUSTIN – In an effort to support those who choose to not return to work due to COVID-19, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is implementing new eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits.

Each unemployment insurance claim is currently evaluated on an individual basis.

The following are reasons benefits would be granted if the individual refused suitable work:

  • At High Risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Household member at high risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Diagnosed with COVID: The individual has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered.
  • Family member with COVID: Anybody in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered and 14 days have not yet passed.
  • Quarantined: Individual is currently in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19.
  • Child care: Child’s school or daycare closed and no alternatives are available.  

Any other situation will be subject to a case by case review by TWC based on individual circumstances.

“This flexibility in the unemployment benefit process will help ensure that Texans with certain health and safety concerns will not be penalized for choosing not to return to work,” said Governor Greg Abbott.

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