TEXAS EXPANDS UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ELIGIBILITY FOR CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED BY COVID-19
As Texas begins opening up for business, employers are now asking workers who were laid off due to Covid-19 to return to work. Last week, Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Workforce Commission issued new guidance for unemployment claimants concerning their eligibility for unemployment benefits should they choose not to return to work at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic. Unemployment claimants in Texas may now continue to receive benefits while refusing suitable work for six reasons:
1. At high risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
2. Household member at high risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
3. Diagnosed with COVID: The individual has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered.
4. 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.
5. Quarantined: Individual is currently in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19.
6. Child care: Child’s school or daycare closed and no alternatives are available.
Any other COVID-19-related unemployment situation will be evaluated on an individual basis. For many workers prone to complications from COVID-19 who had been dreading a potential return to work for fear of exposure to the virus, the news came as a huge relief.