Unemployment benefits still yours if you choose not to return to work, Gov. Abbott says

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Gov. Greg Abbott announced the Texas Workforce Commission has issued new guidance to those seeking unemployment benefits concerning their eligibility should they choose not to return to work right now due to COVID-19.

Under the new guidance, Texans can continue to receive unemployment benefits throughout the COVID-19 response if they choose not to return to work for certain reasons as specified by TWC.

"As the Lone Star State begins the process of safely and 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 Abbott. "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."

Each unemployment insurance claim is currently 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.

  • At high-risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19
  • Household member is at high risk
  • Diagnosed with COVID-19: 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-19: 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: The person is currently in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19
  • Child care: Child's school or daycare is closed and no alternatives are available
  • Any other situation will be subject to a case by case review by TWC based on individual circumstances
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