When I lost my job I didn’t want to file for unemployment benefits. I thought I would have a job before my unemployment insurance (aka, the weekly check I got from the state) would kick in. Plus, it was only a few hundred bucks per week, if I remember right.
But I did. I took the time to apply. As days of unemployment turned into weeks, and then months, I was glad for that few hundred dollars here and there. It wasn’t close to replacing my previous income, but it saved my family.
In Utah, I had to report every week that I was in a real job search. Among other things, I had to say that I had made contact with two new (new-to-me) companies every week. In other words, in order for the state to give me money each week, I had to show that I wasn’t just sitting around watching TV.
Personally, I felt only making contact with two new companies a week was a very weak requirement, but I wasn’t about to argue with the State.
My job search spreadsheet was the tool I relied on, in case I got audited. I never got audited, and of the hundreds of job seekers I met, none of them told about being audited. I’m not sure how common auditing is now, but it wasn’t common when I was filing.
There’s a better way, now, to track what you are doing in a job search, if you are filing for unemployment insurance.
When you use JibberJobber to organize and track your job search, your activities show up in an “unemployment report.”
Simply click on Report, then the first menu option is called the Unemployment Report (make sure you choose the time frame from the drop down).
This report shows you what companies you are contacting, and what kind of contact you are making (submitting a resume, going to an interview, etc.). I’m guessing it contains the information any auditor would want to see.
This is a free report (used to be Premium). All you have to do is use JibberJobber to track your activities in your job search
The Texas Workforce Commission wants you to keep a “work search log,” which you can find online. They say: “TWC requires that you actively search for work to be eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits. TWC may request your work search log anytime during your benefit year to verify your work search activities. If TWC cannot verify your work search activities, you could be held ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits for the requested week.”
Here’s an article from the lawmakers in Tennessee, who want job seekers collecting UI benefits to be more accountable. You get the typical rhetoric from heavies like Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who says: “Anecdotally, we’re pretty confident there’s a lot of folks who aren’t doing that. They’re just sitting at home collecting their benefits.” Right after that you read they are apparently sending UI money to people who are in jail, because they haven’t “redefine[d] “misconduct” that disqualifies workers from benefits and ban people who are incarcerated from collecting unemployment while behind bars.” Oops. The point is, though, there might be more stringent reporting requirements.