BOSTON (NEWS10/WWLP) — Massachusetts will reinstate work search requirements for people receiving unemployment benefits beginning June 15. Unemployment insurance claimants will no longer be able to cite COVID-related reasons for not looking for work.
With all COVID-19 restrictions ending in Massachusetts at the end of the month, state officials are hoping many people on unemployment will be able to find a job. There are more than 200,000 jobs being advertised on the MassHire JobQuest website.
The requirement was temporarily suspended in March 2020 following federal guidance at the beginning of the pandemic. But on June 15, the statewide COVID state of emergency is slated to end. That means anyone receiving unemployment benefits will have to show proof each week that they have been looking for work.
Beginning the week of June 13 through June 19, those applying for unemployment must make sure they are making at least three work-search applications per week and provide proof of applying to the Department of Unemployment Assistance if necessary.
That includes completing a job application in person or online, registering for work and reemployment services with a local Mass Hire Career Center, or using other job search activities such as newspapers, professional journals, or the internet.
Most residents will be entitled to continue to receive partial or reduced unemployment benefits even as they do get employed and return to work, including keeping the full amount of the special COVID-related $300 weekly stipend offered through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC). When you report new wages for employment, the weekly unemployment benefit will be proportionately reduced to offset new wages. In most cases, claimants will remain eligible for the $300 weekly stipend until their wages exceed 133% of what they would make on unemployment.
The PUC program is scheduled to end in the first week of September. The state will lift all COVID restrictions on businesses and fully reopen by May 29. The state of emergency will also end on June 15. According to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, more than 200,000 jobs in Massachusetts are advertised in MassHire Career Center.