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Published
Sep 9, 2022
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Updated
Sep 16, 2022

Work Search Requirements for Unemployment Benefits by State

Becca Dershowitz

All but three states in the US require people on unemployment benefits to submit documentation of their job search efforts.

While the unemployment rate returned to pre-pandemic levels, mass layoffs continue. And many people are finding themselves out of a job. Where do you turn when you are unexpectedly unemployed? Employees who are temporarily out of work through no fault of their own may qualify for unemployment benefits. 

Each state has specific work search requirements people must meet to be eligible for unemployment benefits. In the interest of public safety during the pandemic, the requirement to actively seek work was temporarily suspended. However, all 50 states have since reinstated active work search requirements to maintain eligibility for benefits. 

We’ve researched the work search requirements for unemployment benefits in every state.

Alabama

In order to receive unemployment benefits in the state of Alabama, you must make a reasonable and active search for work. You are required to enter work search contact information with each weekly certification. 

Website: Alabama Unemployment Compensation Handbook

Alaska

Upon filing for regular unemployment benefits in Alaska, a worker will be required to register for work. Two work search contacts must be reported if the worker lives in Alaska and is within 55 miles of a job center. Outside of those 55 road miles, one contact is required. These work search reports must be reported weekly to be eligible for benefits. A work search log is available for the required record keeping. 

Website: Alaska Unemployment Insurance

Arizona

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Arizona, claimants must make at least four work search contacts a week on four different days each week. You can log your work search activities by logging into the portal each week. Each of the four entries will be entered separately as one search before filing your weekly claim. 

Website: Arizona Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Arkansas

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Arkansas, you must be physically and mentally available for work, while actively seeking suitable work. After registering with the Divisions of Workforce Services (DWS), you will be informed of the required number of contacts to make weekly. At least one contact a week needs to be in person. Upon written notification by DWS, typically the 13th or 19th week of filing for claims, you will be required to begin recording your work search efforts on the Job Contacts Log provided in the handbook. 

Website: https://dws.arkansas.gov/workforce-services/unemployment/

California

Most people in California must look for suitable work each week if they want to be eligible to receive benefits. You will receive a notice in the mail explaining your work search requirements. The first week after filing will be an unpaid week, and claimants must certify for benefits every two weeks to continue receiving benefit payments. Documenting your work search is not required, but you are encouraged to keep a record to help you answer “yes” or “no” questions when filing. 

Website: https://edd.ca.gov/unemployment/

Colorado

For unemployment eligibility in Colorado, you are required to complete work search activities, with a recommendation of five activities per week. You are required to document your efforts and report your completed activities when requesting payment each week. Your claim may be audited for up to two years from the start of the claim, and your reported work search activity will be verified.

Website: https://cdle.colorado.gov/eligibility-and-work-search-requirements

Connecticut

Work search activities are mandatory for claimants in Connecticut. A minimum of three work search efforts per week, one being an employer contact, is required. Each week you file a claim for benefits, you must document all efforts to find work. You can access more information about work search requirements on the website.

Website: https://portal.ct.gov/DOLUI/Work-Search

Delaware

Eligibility to receive unemployment benefits in Delaware is dependent on making a reasonable effort to find work each week. You will be required to make at least one new work search contact each week and indicate specifics of that search when you request your weekly  benefits. A Work Search Log is provided. 

Website: https://laborfiles.delaware.gov/main/dui/handbook/UI%20Claimant%20Handbook.pdf

Florida

Unemployment claimants in Florida need to request benefit payment on a biweekly basis in the CONNECT platform, which will provide you with your scheduled report date. You are required to provide your work search contacts for the week during this time. If you work during a week that you are requesting benefits for, you are still required to conduct and report your work search activities for that week. 

Website: https://floridajobs.org/Reemployment-Assistance-Service-Center/reemployment-assistance/claimants/apply-for-benefits

Georgia

In order to be eligible to receive unemployment benefits in Georgia, the law requires that you make at least three new verifiable job contacts each week. The three job contacts must be recorded and submitted each week benefits are claimed and must correspond with the week claimed. You can find more information about work search requirements on the website. 

Website: https://www.dol.state.ga.us/Access/Service/SebWorkSearch?linkAction=entry

Hawaii

Claimants must make a minimum of three job searches per week to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Hawaii. You must seek suitable work and apply for jobs you're qualified for. Submitting a weekly job search log is not necessary, but it is required to keep a log and submit it when requested. 

Website: https://www.hawaiiunemploymentinfo.com/work-search/#threeContacts

Idaho

Almost everyone collecting unemployment insurance benefits in Idaho is required to actively look for work. Claimants must complete two employer contacts or work search activities each week they are claiming benefits. When you file your weekly certification, you will be asked to enter your work search contacts. 

Website: https://www.labor.idaho.gov/dnn/Unemployment-Benefits/Work-Search-Requirements

Illinois

Individuals eligible for unemployment benefits in Illinois must be able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work. You will need to register and upload a resume to www.Illinoisjoblink.com. When requested, the claimant is required to provide the Department with records to indicate a thorough, active, and reasonable search for work. You can find more information about work search requirements below. 

Website: https://ides.illinois.gov/content/dam/soi/en/web/ides/ides_forms_and_publications/cli106l.pdf

Indiana

Claimants in Indiana are required to actively search for work and register for work within the first 10 days of filing a claim. Individuals must visit their local WorkOne for a review of their work search records after their fourth week of benefits. You are required by law to keep records of your work search, as they may be requested by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). You can find more information about work search requirements on the website.

Website: https://www.in.gov/dwd/indiana-unemployment/

Iowa

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Iowa, you must register for work and upload/create a resume when you apply. In order to maintain eligibility, you must complete four reemployment activities, three of which must be job applications between Sunday and Saturday of the week you are claiming benefits. You must keep a log of all reemployment activities for a period of one year after you stop claiming benefits and be ready to provide a copy if requested by Iowa Workforce Development.

Website: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/continued-eligibility

Kansas

In order to maintain eligibility for unemployment benefits in Kansas, you must perform three work search activities each week. Two of those activities must be an application or submission of a resume. It is recommended to keep a written record of your job search activities, as you may be asked to provide details. A Work Search Activity Log stating the search requirements is provided. 

Website: https://www.dol.ks.gov/unemployment

Kentucky

All claimants must be able, available, and seeking suitable work each week in order to be eligible for benefits in Kentucky. You are required to seek full-time work and make at least one job contact per week. You will be required to provide your job contact information during your bi-weekly benefit request. You can find more information about work search requirements on the website.

Website: https://uiclaimsportal.ky.gov/s/

Louisiana

Active work search is required for individuals filing for unemployment benefits in Louisiana. You must look for work by contacting at least three different employers about job openings during each week that you claim benefits. When filing for your weekly certification, use your record of your work search to enter the information in the work search portion.

Website: https://www.laworks.net/

Maine

Under Maine law, anyone filing for unemployment benefits must show that they are actively seeking work in order to receive benefits each week. All claimants must conduct at least one work search related activity each week. You must document your work search activities and contacts on your weekly certification. You should maintain documentation of your activities, as random work search audits are conducted.

Website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Maryland

All claimants must actively search for work to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Maryland. You must complete at least three valid reemployment activities each week, which must include at least one job contact. As part of the active search for work requirement, you must complete a one-time registration with the Maryland Workforce Exchange. You are also required to submit your completed job contacts and valid reemployment activities each week.

Website: https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/unemployment.shtml

Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) requires a few conditions for unemployment eligibility. One requirement is to make at least three work searches per week. You must keep a detailed written log of your work search efforts and keep related documents. When attending your MassHire Career Center appointments, you will need to bring your log and supporting documents. You will also be required to provide any documentation to DUA upon request.

Website: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-unemployment-assistance

Michigan

Claimants in Michigan are required to complete two work registration steps to be eligible for unemployment benefits. You must create a job seeker profile and meet with staff from your local Michigan Works! Service Center. You are required to report at least one work search activity for each week during your bi-weekly certification for benefits. You can find more information about work search requirements here.

Website: https://www.michigan.gov/leo/bureaus-agencies/uia

Minnesota

While you are unemployed in Minnesota, looking for work is your full-time job. You must actively look for work even if you have a part-time job, expect to return to a seasonal job, or are in school. A minimum number of weekly work search contacts is not specified. You should keep a log of your search efforts.

Website: https://uimn.org/applicants/

Mississippi

An individual must make an active search for full-time work in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits in Mississippi. You are required to contact three employers each week, and an actual application must be completed with at least one of three employer contacts. When you file your weekly certification for benefits online, you will be directed to complete your weekly work search details first. You can find more information about work search requirements on the website.

Website: https://mdes.ms.gov/unemployment-claims/benefit-information/worksearch-requirements/

Missouri

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Missouri, you are required to complete at least three work search activities each week, unless directed otherwise. You may enter your work search activities during the week or when filing your Weekly Request for Payment. You can find more information about work search requirements here.

Website: https://laboranswers.mo.gov/hc/en-us/categories/4403616867991-Unemployment-Information

Montana

For continued eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits in the state of Montana, you must make an active effort to secure employment each week benefits are claimed. You can do this by contacting appropriate employers. Keep a detailed record of your applications and work search contacts in case your claim is selected for an audit. You can find more information about work search requirements on the website.

Website: https://uid.dli.mt.gov/

Nebraska

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits in Nebraska, you must actively look for work and maintain an active NEworks registration. Five reemployment activities must be completed per benefit week in order to remain eligible. At least two of the five activities must be applications for suitable work. Complete your weekly online work search log when filing your weekly claim. 

Website: https://dol.nebraska.gov/uibenefits

Nevada

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Nevada, your work search activities must begin the week in which your claim was filed. You must conduct several different work search activities each week. You must provide your work search activity record and any supporting documents as proof of your work search activity efforts each and every week you file for benefits online at ui.nv.gov. You can use the work search activity record provided. 

Website: https://ui.nv.gov/css.html

New Hampshire

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in New Hampshire, you must be actively seeking work which you are qualified to perform. This work search includes contacting hiring employers and completing reemployment activities. It is your responsibility to keep a daily record of the employers you contact. When filing your weekly continued claim or request for benefits, enter all contacts you have made for the week. You can use the Work Search Log provided. 

Website: https://www.nhes.nh.gov/

New Jersey

You must make an effort to secure employment for each week of unemployment benefits that you claim in New Jersey. You are required to contact at least one different employer each week and be able to show proof of your active search. The Division of Unemployment Insurance may ask you to provide proof of your search for work at any time you are claiming benefits. 

Website: https://nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/assets/pdfs/PR-94.pdf

New Mexico

Work search is a federal requirement in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in New Mexico. You are required to make a minimum of two different work search contacts every week to qualify for benefits. Claimants must keep a detailed log of their work search activity recording the date and details of the work search. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions can request this activity log anytime during the benefit year. 

Website: https://www.dws.state.nm.us/Work-Search-Requirement-Information


New York

While you are claiming benefits in New York, you must actively look for work. You are required to complete at least three work search activities each week that you claim benefits. These activities must be done on different days of the week. You must keep a record of your work search activity and be prepared to give a copy to the Department of Labor if asked. Random reviews of work search records are conducted, so keep your records for at least one year.

Website: https://dol.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2022/05/ui-handbook-english-5-22.pdf

North Carolina

To receive unemployment benefits in North Carolina, you are required to actively be seeking work. You are required to make at least three work search contacts each week, and one of the three weekly job contacts can be satisfied by attending an approved reemployment activity. Under state law, you must keep a record of your search activities.

Website: https://des.nc.gov/apply-unemployment/unemployment-benefit-basics

North Dakota

To receive unemployment benefits in North Dakota, you must actively search for work each week, beginning the same week you apply for benefits. You must also complete one online resume within 10 days of filing. You are required to conduct a minimum of three job contacts each week. When filing your weekly certification, you will be asked to verify if you made job contacts that week. Job Contacts forms are available to help maintain records if requested by Job Service North Dakota. 

Website: https://www.jobsnd.com/sites/www/files/documents/jsnd-documents/uiclaimantguider062221.pdf

Ohio

To collect unemployment benefits in Ohio, you must be ready, willing, and able to work. You are required to actively conduct at least two work search activities each week in which you are claiming benefits. You must also provide documentation of your work search activity. You can find more information about work search requirements on the website. 

Website: https://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/uipolicy/index.stm

Oklahoma

Everyone with an active claim in Oklahoma is required to conduct at least two work search efforts for each week they are filing for unemployment benefits. When filing weekly certifications, you will attest that you have completed and documented the required work searches. You can keep a paper copy of your records or add them to your OKJobMatch.com account. These records may be requested in the event of an audit.

Website: https://oklahoma.gov/oesc/individuals/faqs.html

Oregon

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Oregon, you must be willing and able to actively seek work each week. You must complete at least five work seeking activities for each week that you claim benefits, with at least two of the five being direct contact with employers. You will report your work search activities when you file for your weekly benefits. 

Website: https://www.oregon.gov/employ/Unemployment/Claimant_Handbook/Pages/Section-3-Maintaining-Eligibilty.aspx

Pennsylvania

You must actively seek work by the third week of filing a claim to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania. Work search requires you to apply for two jobs and complete one work search activity each week. You must keep a record of your work search activities and are required to report your activities each week you file a claim. You can find more information about work search requirements on the website.

Website: https://www.uc.pa.gov/unemployment-benefits/Am-I-Eligible/maintaining-eligibility/Pages/default.aspx

Rhode Island

All unemployment insurance claimants in Rhode Island are required to actively be seeking work. You are required to complete at least three work search activities each week. While you do not currently have to submit your work searches when filing weekly, you must keep a record of your work search activities for at least one year. Your claim may be audited at any time, in which records would be required to maintain eligibility for unemployment benefits. 

Website: https://dlt.ri.gov/individuals/work-search-requirement

South Carolina

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in South Carolina, you must be available for work and actively seeking work. You must complete at least two work searches through the SC Works Online Services portal each week that you file a certification to remain eligible.

Website: https://dew.sc.gov/individuals/how-unemployment-insurance-works

South Dakota

Starting with the week you file your claim, you must actively seek work while receiving unemployment benefits in South Dakota. You must make a minimum of two job contacts in each week you are requesting benefits. You will be required to provide information on job contacts when you file your weekly request for payment. 

Website: https://dlr.sd.gov/ra/publications/pam247.pdf

Tennessee

Start searching for work immediately after applying for unemployment benefits in Tennessee. You are required to make at least three searches for each week while drawing unemployment insurance. You will report your work searches during the weekly certification process.

Website: https://www.tn.gov/workforce/unemployment/manage-my-benefits-redirect/certify-weekly/required-work-searches.html

Texas

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Texas, you must search for work and make the minimum number of work search activities each week. The designated number of work searches to complete is based on your local county. You must document at least your minimum number of required activities each week, but it is recommended to document all work search efforts. You will be notified if your work search log is requested for verification.

Website: https://www.twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services

Utah

You must be physically and mentally able to work full-time to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Utah. You should make at least four new full-time job contacts each week. You are required to keep a detailed record of your work search activities and will be required to provide this information during your weekly filing.

Website: https://jobs.utah.gov/ui/jobseeker/claimguide.html

Vermont

In order to be eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits in Vermont, you are required to actively search for work. You must complete at least three qualified job contacts each week while collecting benefits. You are required to report your job contacts when submitting weekly claims online.

Website: https://labor.vermont.gov/unemployment-insurance/work-search

Virginia

The Virginia Employment Commission requires that you are diligently searching for work each week, beginning with the first week you establish your unemployment claim. You must make a minimum of two job contacts per week and are responsible for maintaining a record of those work search contacts. Online weekly claim filers will submit this information as each weekly claim is filed. If you file by telephone, you will submit basic information by phone and detailed written information every four weeks. 

Website: https://www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed/resources/your-unemployment-benefit-rights-and-responsibilities

Washington

To remain eligible for unemployment benefits in Washington, you are required to look for work. You must document at least three approved job search activities each week. You are required to enter the details of your job search activities when completing your weekly claim online.

Website: https://www.esd.wa.gov/unemployment

West Virginia

According to West Virginia Unemployment Compensation Law, you must make an active job search for work each week. The number of weekly contacts you should make depends on your occupation and the condition of the labor market. You are required to keep a written record of your weekly job contacts and be prepared to provide this record if your claim is randomly selected for review.

Website: https://workforcewv.org/images/files/Claimants/CLAIMANT_HANDBOOK-_REVISION-2-09-16_2_002.pdf

Wisconsin

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Wisconsin, you must actively be searching for work. You are required to perform at least four work search activities each week. You must document your work search actions for each week you claim benefits, having enough detail to allow for verification by the department.

Website: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/handbook/english/contentspart4.htm

Wyoming

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits in Wyoming, you must be able and available for work. You have a work search requirement of contacting two or more different employers each week. You will be required to document your work search efforts and provide those two contacts when you file your weekly Continued Claim for benefits.

Website: https://dws.wyo.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Wyoming-Claimant-Guidebook.pdf

Wrapping Up

If you find yourself unexpectedly out of a job, we have tools and resources to help. With the use of Teal’s job tracker, you can stay organized and keep a record of all your work search activities in one place. The job tracker tool allows you to export your job search activity report for easy sharing.

Becca Dershowitz

Becca is a former teacher and Teal's Research Associate.

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