Learn About Continued Requirements for Unemployment Benefits

Completing an unemployment job search on a regular basis is essential to keeping your benefits.

Once you qualify for unemployment, it is necessary to look for work and perform other tasks in order to maintain your eligibility.

In other words, you must meet the requirements for unemployment more than once.

Your benefits may end if you are unable to verify that you are eligible on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending on your state of residence.

The basic unemployment rules state that you must be physically able to work, ready and willing to accept a job and actively searching for a job each week that you plan on claiming benefits.

However, in many cases, it is not enough to simply say that you meet all of these criteria.

Most states require that you maintain an unemployment job search log in order to verify that you are actively seeking work.

Below, learn more about the unemployment job search requirements and find out what you need to do to maintain your eligibility for benefits.

Unemployment Rules for Your Ability and Availability for Work

The first basic requirement for unemployment job searches is that you need to demonstrate you are available and able to accept work.

The unemployment office may not consider you “available” for work if you are in the hospital, attending school full time, in jail, on vacation or have no one to take care of your children.

Furthermore, you may not be considered available if you do not have adequate transportation to get to work, whether that means owning a car or having access to public transportation options that would allow you to commute.

Related Article: The Latest Changes to the Unemployment Benefits Program

The rules for unemployment usually state that you must be available to work full-time when offered a job.

Therefore, you cannot have obligations that would prevent you from accepting any reasonable full-time offer.

For example, needing to take care of dependents could make you ineligible for benefits if you did not have day care or another alternative lined up.

Unemployment Work Search Requirements

Completing regular job searches for unemployment is one of the most important requirements that you must meet.

Unemployment offices will not give you benefits if you are not actively seeking employment. In many states, you will be expected to fill out a work search log to document your efforts.

Each state has its own requirements for seeking a job. For example, some may require that you complete a minimum number of “work search activities” each week in order to qualify for benefits.

Examples of valid work search actions include:

  • Submitting a resume or application for a job opening.
  • Voluntarily completing a reemployment class or service.
  • Registering with a job placement facility.
  • Uploading your resume to a job search website.
  • Completing a job interview.
  • Engaging in a professional networking group.
  • Meeting with a career counselor.
  • Completing training for your career.

Activities that do not count as an unemployment job search include calling employers to find that they have no open job positions, applying for the same position within a short timeframe, viewing job ads without submitting your resume or saving job postings that you plan on applying for later.

Furthermore, you will not meet the requirements for an unemployment job search if you apply for positions that are outside of your skill set, industry or area of expertise.

For example, if you work in manufacturing, applying for a job in retail may not count as a job search action for the purposes of getting unemployment benefits.

In addition to the work search requirement for unemployment, you will usually need to complete a process known as registering for work as well.

Most unemployment agencies will require that you create an account with the state’s career center, which will allow you to search for jobs, get career help or find training for your work.

How to Fill Out a Work Search Log for Unemployment

You will be responsible for keeping a work search log, which can be used to verify that you have met the requirements.

In many cases, your log is simply used for your own records, but you could be asked to provide your log if the unemployment office ever needs to verify the information it contains.

Other states may require that you share information about your work searching activities when you submit your weekly or bi-weekly UI claim.

In some cases, you may be able to find printable work search logs on your state’s unemployment website or in the unemployment office.

Whether you choose to create your own log or use a form provided by the office, it is important to include information such as:

  • The type of job action you performed, such as going to an interview or submitting a resume.
  • The date you performed each job action.
  • The contact information for each job you have applied for.
  • The outcome of each application or job searching action.

Unemployment Rules for Accepting and Refusing Job Offers

When doing a job search for unemployment, you will be expected to take any reasonable job offer you may receive.

Failing to accept a reasonable offer may result in you losing your eligibility for unemployment.

Understanding the definition of a “reasonable offer” is important, especially because what counts as a reasonable job can change the longer you have been receiving unemployment.

Each state has its own criteria for unemployment job searches, and therefore, its own definition of reasonable work.

Some states have loose guidelines for what counts as a valid offer, while others have extremely specific criteria relating to the wages, hours and commute distance that determine how reasonable an offer is.

In general, a job offer you receive in the early weeks of unemployment must match or exceed your current unemployment benefit amount in order to be considered a valid offer.

However, as time goes on, you may be expected to accept a job that pays less than your weekly benefit amount.

The unemployment office decides what counts as a reasonable wage by looking at how much you made during your highest-earning quarter in your base period, which is the length of time used to determine how much your benefits will be.

If your benefits are $400 per week, this equates to $10 per hour in a 40-hour work week.

If the unemployment job search requirements state that you must accept any job that pays the same as your weekly benefit amount, this means that you must take a valid job that pays $10 if one is offered.

There are a few exceptions to the job search requirements for unemployment when it comes to accepting valid job offers.

Even if a job pays the correct amount of wages, as described above, it still may not be considered “reasonable” if any of the following apply:

  • The job is outside of your industry or is not aligned to your training or experience.
  • Accepting the offer would require you to join or resign from a union.
  • The working hours, conditions or commute time are not in line with those for other people in your area who hold similar jobs.
  • The wages for the position are lower than what is usually offered.
  • You are not physically able to perform the work.
  • You have a moral or religious objection to the nature of the work.

While these unemployment job search exceptions may apply to your situation, it is necessary to check with the unemployment office if you are unsure of what constitutes a reasonable offer.

Remember that turning down a valid job offer may make you ineligible to continue receiving benefits.

Related Article: How much will you receive in unemployment benefits?

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