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Requirements upped to get unemployment benefits

NASHVILLE — Beginning Sept. 1, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will begin implementation of the Unemployment Insurance Accountability Act of 2012.
The new law requires all unemployment claimants in Tennessee to demonstrate valid work search activity and maintain a work search log. Failure to comply with the new law will result in a loss of benefits.
Notices will be mailed this week to all claimants receiving Tennessee Unemployment Compensation informing them of the new requirements to continue receiving benefits. Those receiving federal extended unemployment benefits are already required to document work search activity.
“The Accountability Act is aptly named as it raises the bar of accountability for those receiving unemployment benefits,” said Labor Commissioner Karla Davis. “Documenting three work searches each week will require a small effort, but the consequences of not doing them are very serious.”
Labor and Workforce Development will conduct random audits of 1,000 claimants’ work search documentation each week to verify work search activity.
If work search claims are found to be fraudulent, the department will stop a claimant’s benefits immediately and can suspend payments for eight weeks.
Claimants are required to conduct three work searches each week.
A valid work search activity is considered any of the following:
• Registering at and applying for jobs online
• Completing a job application in person or online
• Mailing a job application and/or resume, as instructed in a public notice
• Making in-person visits with employers who may have job openings
• Sending job applications to employers
• Interviewing with potential employers in person or by telephone
• Registering for work with private employment agencies, placement services or hiring unions
• Using the employment resources available at Tennessee Career Centers that may lead directly to a job
• Attending job search seminars, career networking meetings, job fairs or employment-related workshops that offer instruction in improving individual skills for obtaining employment
Claimants who do not receive work search logs in the mail can find the information at or at the nearest Tennessee Career Center.