TASB Risk Management Fund
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4 Ways to Protect Your District's Unemployment Account

May 31, 2022 James Ezell

signing a contract for school district unemployment claims

Employee contracts, summer break, and substitute teachers make unemployment compensation unique for educational entities. Follow these four tips to protect your schools and ensure former employees receive the benefits they’re entitled to under the law.

1. Issue letters of reasonable assurance (LRA)

An LRA is a written agreement from the school that an employee can expect to return to the same or similar job after a scheduled break, for example, in the next school year. LRAs protect districts from unemployment claims filed during breaks.

Noncontract employees such as substitutes, food service workers, teacher aides, paraprofessionals, and bus drivers should receive LRAs during new-hire orientation and again before summer break.

2. Manage your substitute roster

Substitute jobs go unfilled every day. If subs routinely decline work opportunities, remove them from your roster. If they file claims during the school year, tell the TWC they quit, and explain how many jobs you offered and how many they accepted.

3. Monitor claims for fraud

The unemployment compensation system is designed to provide temporary financial support to Texans who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Sadly, some people cheat the system.

Identity theft and failure to report wages are two common types of unemployment compensation fraud. Learn what to look for and how to respond if you suspect a claim is fraudulent.

4. Respond to claim notifications

The TWC gives employers 14 days to respond to most claim notifications:

  • The clock starts ticking when the form is mailed, not when you receive it.
  • The TWC doesn’t consider school holidays a valid reason for untimely responses.
  • If you miss the deadline, you could lose your right to appeal.

Create a free TWC Employer Benefits Services account and monitor your appeal and response status online. Otherwise, assign someone responsibility for checking the mail this summer and forwarding notifications to the appropriate employee.

Leverage our expertise

Fund members with Unemployment Compensation coverage benefit from expert support delivered by TASB Attorney James Ezell. James is a former TWC hearing officer who helps our members (at no additional cost):

  • Get answers to general unemployment compensation questions, as well as questions about specific claims
  • Prepare for appeals or hearings
  • Protest claims
  • Get fraudulent claims voided
  • Understand your responsibilities under the law

More guidance

The Fund website offers a member-exclusive unemployment compensation guide designed around schools’ unique needs. To access the information, log into myTASB and click on Unemployment Compensation Resources.

Tagged: claims, "reasonable assurance", "wage reporting"