The Nebraska Department of Labor is reminding unemployment recipients that the following actions can impact unemployment insurance eligibility:
Declining To Return to Work
Workers who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 must return to work if called back to remain eligible for benefits. Not returning to work when there is available work could be considered fraud and a “refusal of work,” potentially disqualifying an individual from receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
Quitting A Job Without Good Cause
Workers who quit a job without good cause are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. If a workplace is operating during COVID-19, workers should provide a doctor’s note when filing for unemployment. The note should explain what work the employee can perform. Quitting a job due to fear of exposure to COVID-19, absent advice from a health care provider, is not considered good cause for quitting under the law.
Declining Suitable Work
Under the law, if an unemployed person is offered a comparable job to their previous job at comparable wages and hours and refuses to accept the job offer, they will be disqualified from benefits.
“Unemployment benefits are intended for those who are unemployed or working reduced hours due to no fault of their own,” said Commissioner of Labor John H. Albin. “Most workers receiving unemployment benefits are following the law. However, we investigate all reported instances where a worker is suspected of refusing work in order to collect unemployment. The Department has set up an email account, NDOL.UIworkrefusal@nebraska.gov, to report suspected fraud of this nature.”
Benefits obtained through fraud must be repaid. Other possible penalties for unemployment insurance fraud include a 15% penalty based on the amount of the overpayment, losing eligibility to receive benefits now and in the future, forfeiting state and federal income tax refunds, criminal charges, jail time, and felony or misdemeanor conviction.
Working Reduced Hours
Workers who are called back by their employer, but working reduced hours, may still qualify for benefits. These workers should continue to file weekly claims at NEworks.nebraska.gov and report all earnings. If a worker is earning more than their previous weekly benefit amount, they will not be eligible for benefits for that week. Workers whose employers have an approved Short-Time Compensation plan can also receive a partial unemployment benefit.
For more information, visit dol.nebraska.gov.