Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) had issued new guidance to unemployment claimants. It concerns their eligibility for unemployment benefits should they choose not to return to work at this time due to COVID-19. Under this guidance, Texans can continue to receive unemployment benefits throughout the COVID-19 response if they choose not to return to work for specific reasons as specified by TWC.
“As the Lone Star State begins the process of strategically opening the economy, our top priority is protecting the health and safety of all Texans—especially those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “This flexibility in the unemployment benefits process will help ensure that Texans with certain health and safety concerns will not be penalized for choosing not to return to work.”
Each unemployment insurance claim evaluated on an individual basis. However, because of the COVID-19 emergency, the following are reasons benefits would be granted if the individual refused suitable work.
Reason for refusal:
- At High Risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
- Household members 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 not recovered.
- A family member is positive for COVID-19 reported by an approved State of Texas source, has not recovered, and within 14 days hasn’t passed.
- Quarantined: The 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.