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Nebraskans getting unemployment must get back to the job search
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Nebraskans getting unemployment must get back to the job search

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Job search required  again for most collecting unemployment

Need to continue to draw unemployment checks? If you aren't already looking for jobs, beginning next week, you will be required to rejoin that search. 

The state's unemployment program is focusing again on reemployment strategies, the Nebraska Department of Labor announced Monday. Those people wishing to continue to receive unemployment benefits, including the $600 federal supplement available through July 25, must search for work, a requirement that had been waived in the state since March 15.

That includes those on regular unemployment insurance, pandemic unemployment assistance, pandemic emergency unemployment compensation and extended benefits.

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An executive order signed Monday by Gov. Pete Ricketts said Nebraskans have been diligent in helping the state flatten the COVID-19 curve and maintain available capacity for hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators. The state is in phase three of reopening, to revive the economy and welfare, the order said.

Nebraska employers, Ricketts said, are listing more than 30,000 available jobs.

People with a confirmed employer recall date within 112 days of their layoff, those in approved training, union members with a hiring hall, and those in a short-time compensation program will be exempt from the work search requirements.

All others will have to report their reemployment activities each week to remain eligible for benefits. Those applying for regular unemployment insurance, pandemic unemployment assistance and pandemic emergency unemployment compensation must perform five reemployment activities per week, including two job applications.

Those applying for extended benefits must submit three applications per week. In order to qualify for those benefits, you must have exhausted both 26 weeks of regular benefits and 13 weeks of pandemic emergency unemployment compensation benefits.

Qualified work search activities include filing an application online or in person with an employer; searching internet job banks; attending a job skills class or workshop; taking a civil service exam, and meeting with a job coach or career counselor.

Employers are encouraged to continue posting job openings on NEworks.nebraska.gov.

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Job centers will assist unemployed workers by providing customized job searches through NEworks, reemployment services, one-on-one appointments, and workshops to help develop and refine skills and connect with employment opportunities and training programs, the department said. 

Unemployed workers should report any earnings, including Paycheck Protection Program payments, and any work refusal, when filing their weekly request for payment. Failing to do so will result in an overpayment of unemployment benefits, which must be repaid before a recipient can get any future unemployment benefits.

Also, failing to report earnings and work refusals can be considered fraud and subject to fines and criminal prosecution, the department said.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSLegislature

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