Unemployment recipient required to show proof of work search

Louisiana unemployment claims continue to surge
Louisiana unemployment claims continue to surge((Source: KPLC))
Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 at 9:06 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Travis Smith and his wife Michelle were both laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic. Before this week, they were able to stay afloat because of the $600 federal government supplement.

Now without it, they are trying to stretch the state’s $247 unemployment benefit.

“I mean it’s gone. I mean it’s there’s nothing to stretch. To me it’s a joke,” Smith said.

The former cook says he used the check to pay off one bill, “Today was a test run on what I will be expecting moving forward. With that $247 it’s just not it.”

Starting August 9th, before the Smiths or anyone else can get their next unemployment insurance, or UI, recipients have to prove they are searching for work.

“You have to show that you have applied for three jobs,” said Sunae Villavaso, director of New Orleans’ Office of Workforce Development.

Vilavaso says if people do not provide three business information, they disqualify from benefits.

“That to me is an insult. That is a slap in the face,” Smith said. “That is like kicking a man when he’s down so to speak in my words.”

The Louisiana Workforce Commission says people can look for employers online, by phone, or attending job fairs.

The City of New Orleans is hosting a number of virtual job fairs as part of the diverse economic infrastructure.

“JOB1 invites professionals of all stages to use this platform to explore their career opportunities. JOB1 strives to meet our clients where they are, rather it is online or in person. If you need further assistance, please contact us at 504-658-4500.”

JOB1 CAREER EXPO

August 13th 9am - 2pm, August 20th 2pm - 6pm and August 27th 9am - 2pm

Villavaso says in the last 30 days, there were over 800 New Orleans jobs posted to the state’s ‘Helping Individuals Reach Employment’ portion of the Workforce Commission’s website. But she says most of the jobs required specialized training with degrees or certifications.

"If our hospitality industry that employs over 95,000 people in the city of New Orleans most of them don't have that technical skills to be a nurse or respiratory therapist," she said.

She says the city is now requesting millions to assist with transitional work, paying people to do certain jobs across the city; plus Villavaso says they are proposing for more money to try and diversify the city’s economic infrastructure to not heavily rely on the hospitality industry.

Meanwhile, the Smiths say they are trying to figure out their next move.

“We have to make some adjustments that’s just life,” Smith said. “We have to roll with the punches and make some proper adjustments.”

The Louisiana Workforce Commission says furloughed workers who indicated a return to work date are exempt from work search.

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