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Unemployed in Texas? The state will soon try (again) to bring back the 'work search requirement'

Starting Nov. 1, the Texas Workforce Commission will require people on unemployment to look for work. The last time they tried that, a COVID surge upended the plan.

Last week in Texas there were 50,819 new unemployment claims

There were still 679,923 Texans making continued claims. That number represents people who are collecting unemployment benefits because they haven’t been able to land a new job. 

Though daily coronavirus cases are increasing across the state, the Texas Workforce Commission is again trying to reinstate the work search requirement. 

As cases surged in late June, the state had to suspend its plan to require those receiving unemployment to start doing work searches. That requirement has been waived since the beginning of the pandemic.

The commission is set to reinstate the rule on Nov. 1.

A key factor in the issue could be hospitalizations in each region of the state.

RELATED: Health experts share advice, predictions as hospitalizations and cases rise in North Texas

In places where COVID-19 cases make up more than 15% of total hospital capacity for seven days, business re-openings could be rolled back. 

What benefits recipients need to do

As job searches are mandated as a condition for getting benefits, anyone on unemployment will have to register at workintexas.com. Currently, the site lists hundreds of thousands of open positions in Texas. Anyone receiving unemployment should register on the site now to look for jobs if they haven't already.

Click here to see what the Texas Workforce Commission says counts as a work search.

If you are self-employed and are newly eligible for benefits because of the pandemic, you are also required to take at least three steps per week toward reopening your business. This can be something as basic as making a call to potential customers or vendors or making a plan for reopening.

RELATED: US jobless claims drop to 787,000, but layoffs remain high

Those who have a job, but are furloughed, are exempt from the work search requirement if they have a specific return to work date with their employer that falls within 12 weeks of their layoff.

Benefits recipients don’t have to show proof of their job search activity unless the commission asks for it. Anyone on unemployment should keep detailed records of their work search activity just in case they are asked to produce it.

The Texas Workforce Commission says it will allow successful completion of training videos on its website to count for a work search. 

RELATED: Here's what Texas considers as 'work search' for those unemployed

The program, called Metrix, includes roughly 5,000 video training sessions for things such as how to use Microsoft Word or Excel. Many of the programs are 30 to 60 minutes long. Successful completion of one course counts as one job search, and there is no limit on how many you can do.

Click here to learn more about Metrix.