Abbott releases new TWC guidance for unemployment claimants

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has released new Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) guidance for unemployment claimants concerning their eligibility for unemployment benefits if they chose not to return to work during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. 

According to the new guidance, Texans can continue to receive unemployment benefits throughout the COVID-19 outbreak if they choose not to go back to work for certain reasons specified by the TWC. 

Each unemployment claim will be evaluated on an individual basis, however, because of the COVID-19 outbreak, benefits may still be granted if the individual refused suitable work. 

RELATED: TIMELINE: Texas' continued response to COVID-19 pandemic

The TWC has specified these reasons for refusal: 

  • 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: 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.


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"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 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."

TWC states that any other situation will be subject to a case by case review based on the individual's circumstances. 



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