Employment Service Guide – D-400: Employment Service/Unemployment Insurance Coordination

D-401: About Employment Service/Unemployment Insurance Coordination

Boards must be aware of the following.

Each Board must designate a local Workforce/Unemployment Insurance (WF/UI) coordinator to communicate with the state WF/UI coordinator on issues related to claimants.

UI claimants are a target population for the receipt of workforce services and assistance in becoming reemployed.

Most UI claimants are required to:

  • Register for work in WorkInTexas.com within three business days from the date of submitting the initial UI claim
  • Be able and available for full-time work
  • Actively search for employment 

Individuals who do not have to register in WorkInTexas.com or search for employment include those who:

  • Are employed by a company that is participating in an approved Shared Work Program, as described in Texas Labor Code, Chapter 215
  • Are on temporary layoff with a definite return-to-work date
  • Are participating in training approved by the Commission
  • Are members in good standing of a nondiscriminatory union hiring hall

These individuals are considered workforce attached and are not truly available to other employers.

If the claimant is required to register and seek work, the claimant’s work registration must be in active status the entire time he or she is receiving unemployment benefits or is appealing a determination from TWC not to pay benefits.  Additionally, the UI claimant must:

  • Make an active search for employment if required to do so, and document those efforts, in the event that TWC requests evidence of acceptable work search
  • Be physically able to work
  • Be available for full-time employment
  • Apply for and accept suitable employment
  • Call or report to a Workforce Solutions office, when instructed (for example, for  Rapid Reemployment Services [RRES])
  • Participate in required reemployment activities if determined likely to exhaust benefits
  • Request payment for weeks of unemployment

If the UI claimant does not register for WorkInTexas.com within the prescribed time, a WorkInTexas.com registration for the claimant is automatically created using basic information from the individual’s UI claim.  These automatically-created registrations are sufficient for job matching, but are of lower quality than ones completed by the claimant.  WorkInTexas.com provides a report for Workforce Solutions office staff to identify these claimants for outreach purposes in order to enhance the completeness and quality of the work registration.

As a best practice, it is recommended that Boards outreach all UI claimants listed in the report.  One reason for not self-registering is poor or limited computer skills.  The report provides a list of claimants who can potentially benefit from and appreciate direct staff-assistance.

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions office staff follow the requirements set forth in WD Letters, the ES Guide, Board-administered program contracts, and the TWC-Board Agreement when assisting UI claimants at Workforce Solutions offices.  These requirements include the following:

  • Advising UI claimants of the requirement to register for work in WorkInTexas.com if they are required to do so.
  • Entering timely and accurate data for UI claimants who lack access to WorkInTexas.com when claimants request staff assistance to register for work.
  • Entering all services provided to UI claimants into WorkInTexas.com or TWIST in a timely manner.
  • Advising UI claimants of all methods for applying for unemployment benefits or requesting payment of unemployment benefits, emphasizing application and payment request options available via the Internet.  Regardless of the method, UI claimants must key or call in their own information.
  • Directing UI claimants and employers to refer UI questions and problems to a UI Tele-Center.
  • Providing UI claimants and employers with UI Tele-Center phone numbers.  See Unemployment Benefits Contact Information for Claimants and Unemployment Benefits Contact Information for Employers.
  • Directing UI claimants to the Unemployment Benefits Work Search Guidelines.

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D-402: UI Texas Caller’s Identity

If unsure of a Texas caller’s identity, UI Tele-Center staff instruct the caller to go to a Workforce Solutions office and present a Social Security number (SSN) card and a current Texas driver’s license or other photo identification.  Workforce Solutions office staff then contact TWC using the Help Line number assigned to the workforce area and notify UI staff if the individual’s identity can be verified by the documents provided.  Identity can be confirmed only if a Tele-Center agent speaks directly with Workforce Solutions office staff.

Boards must ensure that the help line numbers are not given to claimants; they are available to Workforce Solutions office staff for use only when it is necessary to speak immediately with a Tele-Center agent about a pressing UI claims issue.

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D-403: Work Search

Boards must set the required minimum number of weekly work search contacts for their workforce area, as set forth in TWC’s UI rule §815.28.

For additional information, see WD Letter 01-12PDF, issued January 12, 2012, entitled Unemployment Insurance Weekly Work Search Contact Requirements, and subsequent updates.

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions office staff assist UI claimants with their work search, including those activities set forth in:

Boards must ensure the following:

  • UI claimants receive the full range of labor exchange services available to facilitate their earliest return to work
  • UI claimants requiring assistance in seeking work receive the necessary guidance and counseling to ensure that they make a meaningful and realistic work search
  • The local WF/UI coordinator notifies the state WF/UI coordinator if staff become aware that a UI claimant:
  • The local WF/UI coordinator, when notifying the state WF/UI coordinator of a potential issue:
  • Workforce Solutions office staff do not manually inactivate a UI claimant’s work registration in WorkInTexas.com and do not enter or alter—under any circumstances—a job seeker registration without first consulting with the job seeker

WorkInTexas.com automatically transmits certain outcome information, including job contact outcomes, to the UI Benefits System to provide notification of a potential eligibility issue.  When WorkInTexas.com transmits the following job contact outcomes, the UI Benefits System flags the UI claimants so the information can be reviewed to determine if the UI claimants are eligible to continue receiving unemployment benefits:

  • Did not report to work
  • Did not accept job
  • Did not report for interview
  • Did not accept WorkInTexas.com Contact generated by staff (refused referral)
  • Did not respond to RRES call-in letter

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions office staff record the above job contact outcomes in WorkInTexas.com in order for WorkInTexas.com to automatically transmit the information to the UI Benefits System.

In addition to the outcomes previously listed, there are several other potential issues that require the local WF/UI coordinator to manually communicate with the state WF/UI coordinator, including:

  • Transportation problems
  • Child care problems
  • Vacations or other events that require the UI claimant to be out of town
  • Extended illness or injury
  • Return to full-time work and continuing to file for unemployment benefits
  • RRES letter returned by the US Post Office
  • Any other issue that impedes a UI claimant’s ability to obtain employment

Boards must ensure that the local WF/UI coordinator uses the Potential UI Eligibility Reporting Template (WF-42) to inform the state WF/UI coordinator of potential issues. 

To submit the Potential UI Eligibility Reporting form:

  • Enter and save the appropriate service in WorkInTexas.com, which will cause the WF-42 to pop up.
  • Complete the WF-42 using only the last four digits of the UI claimant’s SSN.
  • Save the WF-42 as a Word document.
  • Email it as an attachment to wfui.coordinator@twc.state.tx.us.

The WF-42 templateMS Word is also available on the Intranet (the Intranet is not available to the general public).

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D-404: Suitable Work

Boards must ensure that prior to entering a UI claimant into education or training, staff test the labor market to determine if suitable work is available. 

Boards must ensure that staff determine if a job is suitable based on the following:

  • The job seeker’s experience, qualifications and training
  • Working conditions and pay for similar work in the local workforce development area
  • Any risks to the job seeker’s health, safety or morals
  • Distance to work from the job seeker’s home with consideration of local commuting patterns

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D-405: TWC-Approved Training for UI Claimants

Boards must be aware of the following.

Generally, UI claimants can participate in any type of training and remain eligible for benefits; however, only certain training is recognized as TWC-approved training.  Participation in TWC-approved training exempts claimants from their work search requirement and prevents denial of unemployment benefits based on:

  • Availability for work
  • Refusing an offer of suitable work

Under TWC’s Unemployment Insurance rule §815.25, training that includes the following is always considered approved:

  • Workforce Investment Act–funded training
  • Any training funded by one of the following entities:
  • Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS)
  • Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
  • a federal or state veterans’ agency (VA)
  • A program specifically designated by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)

TWC rule §815.25 specifies that, if the funding source does not qualify the training for automatic approval, training may be approved if the claimant’s current occupation is not a high-demand occupation and the training is for an occupation that is in demand.

Boards must ensure that assessments of TWC-approved training are made in the following situations:

  • UI Tele-Center staff advise the claimant to contact a Workforce Solutions office if questions arise regarding approval of training.    
  • While working with a claimant, Workforce Solutions office staff become aware that a claimant is already enrolled in training or needs training. 

Boards must ensure that when making assessments in these situations, Workforce Solutions office staff do the following:

  • Determine whether the training is funded by DADS, DARS, or a federal or state VA.  If so, it is considered TWC-approved training and must be entered into TWIST, within two business days, under the Optional Question tab, which is accessible from the Intake Common screen.  Since this training is automatically approved, the remaining assessment questions in TWIST do not need to be completed.
  • Complete the rest of the assessment questions in TWIST to determine whether the training can be approved, if the training is not automatically considered approved based on the funding source.
  • Consider the following when completing the assessment:
  • Claimant’s current skills and occupation to determine the likelihood of reemployment within a reasonable time
  • Quality of the claimant’s WorkInTexas.com registration to ensure that it is sufficient to result in quality matches
  • Number and types of WorkInTexas.com matches the claimant is receiving—matching jobs must meet the minimum suitable work requirements in Texas Unemployment Compensation Act §207.008 (if the claimant has no suitable job matches in WorkInTexas.com, he or she may be appropriate for participation in training) 
  • Assist the claimant in determining the appropriate type of occupational training, if an assessment finds that a claimant is appropriate for participation in training.  Training in occupations on the Statewide Target Occupations List or a Board’s Target Occupations List meets the criteria for TWC-approved training.

Boards must ensure that training provided entirely through distance learning results in a nationally recognized degree or credential as set forth in WD Letter 37-07, Change 1PDF, issued January 2, 2008, entitled Workforce Investment Act: Application of Definitions of Credential, Degree/Diploma, and Certificate: Clarification, and subsequent updates. 

Boards also must be aware of the following:

  • Boards are not required to fund all claimant requests for training.
  • Assessments can be conducted by phone or in person.
  • Assessment information must be entered into TWIST, within two business days, under the Optional Question tab, which is accessible from the Intake Common screen.
  • Entry of assessment information must not preclude other routine data entry required to track services or training in TWIST.
  • UI Tele-Center staff make the final determination—based on the assessment provided by Workforce Solutions office staff—on whether training is recognized as TWC-approved.

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D-406: Unemployment Insurance Appeals

Boards must be aware of the following circumstances that involve Board and Workforce Solutions office staff in the UI appeals process:

  • An appealing party submits an appeal by U.S. mail directly to a Board office or Workforce Solutions office. 
  • A UI claimant or an employer submits an appeal in person at a Board office or Workforce Solutions office.
  • A UI claimant or an employer requests the use of Workforce Solutions office resources to submit an appeal without staff assistance (self-service appeal). 
  • An appealing party requests use of Workforce Solutions office resources to participate in a TWC hearing.

Staff Support for UI Claimants and Employers

Boards must ensure that Board staff and Workforce Solutions office staff adhere to the following procedures:

  1. When a Board office or a Workforce Solutions office receives an appeal by mail, date stamp the appeal on the day received, attach the postmarked envelope in which it arrived and forward both by mail within one business day of receipt to:

    Appeal Tribunal
    Texas Workforce Commission
    101 E 15th St, Rm 410
    Austin, TX 78778-0001
     
  2. When a UI claimant or an employer visits the Workforce Solutions office in person and requests to submit an appeal, give the appealing party the option of submitting the appeal by one of the following submission methods:

    By fax:
    • Provide a Texas Workforce Commission Notice of Appeal in English (Form A-4) or Spanish (Form A-4s), both available on the Intranet (the Intranet is not available to the general public).
    • Upon completion and return, countersign and date the form and provide a copy to the appealing party.
    • Ensure that both the appealing party and the staff member initial any corrections to the form.
    • Fax the form and determination, if attached (a copy of the determination is not required with submission), to TWC Appeals at 512-475-1135.
    • Instruct the appealing party to keep the fax confirmation page.

      Online:
    • Guide the appealing party through the Notice of Unemployment Benefits Appeal online form.
    • Instruct the appealing party to keep the confirmation number provided online at the end of the appeal submission process.
  3. When an employer requests the status of an appeal, direct the employer to the Unemployment Benefits Services Appeals Data System, Under the Appeals Information and Resources menu
    • The system allows employers to review current appeal activity and activity from the previous two years; it is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The employer appeal status pages are view-only and available only in English.
    • Employers must continue to submit appeals online, in person at a Workforce Solutions office or by mail or fax to the Appeals Department at the address or fax number on the Determination Notice.  Appeals cannot be submitted by email or over the telephone.
    • Workforce Solutions office staff must advise employers or UI claimants that want to report errors on their appeal records to contact TWC’s UI Appeals Department at appeals@twc.state.tx.us or the Appeals Status Line at 512-463-2807.
  4. When a UI claimant or employer requests to use resources to send information to TWC, provide:
    • Access to a fax machine
    • Assistance in operating the fax machine if requested
    • A fax confirmation sheet with transmittal date, time and record of successful transmission

Access to Workforce Solutions Office Resources

Boards must be aware that UI claimants and employers can request to use a Workforce Solutions office fax machine to address matters related to their UI claims, including appeals, without providing specific information on what they are faxing.

Boards must ensure that, upon request, Workforce Solutions office staff provide UI claimants and employers access to the following:

  • Telephone/speakerphone
  • Fax machine
  • Location in which to participate in a UI telephone appeal hearing

Boards must ensure that:

  • UI transactions take priority over other fax usage 
  • UI claimants and employers are provided any necessary assistance with equipment
  • A notice in English and Spanish is posted by the fax machine informing UI claimants and employers that they can request a confirmation of the fax transmittal if one is not automatically provided
  • UI claimants and employers have access to resources and assistance at all times during a Workforce Solutions office’s regular business hours

It is recommended that Boards have Workforce Solutions office staff post a notice in English and Spanish on any public-accessible Workforce Solutions office doors reminding UI claimants and employers that they can submit an appeal immediately by mail, fax or the online appeal form.

 

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D-407: UI Benefit Payment Methods

TWC pays unemployment benefits by direct deposit or through a debit card.  For more information on these benefit payment options, please see the following TWC website pages:

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D-408: Prohibited Activities

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions office staff do not engage in the following activities:

  • Answering questions or making predictions about unemployment benefits eligibility and receipt.  Workforce Solutions office staff must direct all persons with UI questions and problems to a UI Tele-Center (800-939-6631).
  • Collecting weekly work search logs.  The collection of UI claimant work search information (known as work search logs) is the sole responsibility of TWC’s UI Division staff.
  • Accepting custody of debit cards voluntarily surrendered by UI claimants or others.  Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions office staff:
  • Setting up a fictitious claim by calling a UI Tele-Center or via the online Apply for Benefits application as an example for a UI claimant or as a way to test that the system is accepting claims.
  • Listening to or participating in UI claimant conversations.  It is inappropriate for Workforce Solutions office staff to monitor UI claimant conversations when a claimant is using a telephone at a Workforce Solutions office to submit a claim, participate in an appeal hearing or provide information requested by a Tele-Center.

The following WD Letter and TA Bulletins, and subsequent updates, provide UI-related technical assistance:

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