State News : Texas

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A Tale of Two Realities: Court Briefing Attorneys and ALJ’s Not on the Same Page

The Texas Supreme Court has asked for full briefing from the parties on Accident Fund’s Petition for Review of Accident Fund’s challenge to the agency’s SIBs qualification rule, which we are hopeful signals that the Court will hear the case on the merits of the rule challenge.

While we wait for the Court to decide the case, the saga continues at the agency level. The moral of this story (if you choose to read it, below) is that at least for now, in the real world it’s the Claimant’s claim of “believe me when I say so” rather than objective proof of an actual job search that satisfies the SIBs work search requirement.

Once upon a time we told you that the Division provided guidance through an FAQ from its General Counsel that claimants who were applying for SIBs (without the help of the Workforce Commission) were to show they were actively looking for a job by attaching job applications or other documents showing they were looking for a job.  Later, we told you the tale of the Attorney General’s briefing to the Highest Court in the Land (well, Texas anyway) that the Division, in fact, does require those claimants to document their searches by job applications and to submit copies of those applications (whether they apply online or by hard-copy) with their SIBs application.  

Unfortunately, real life has not lived up to the story we told. Our firm recently defended a SIBs quarter in which the claimant’s DWC-52 spun a tale of job searches for each week of the qualifying period, but she did not submit a copy of one single job application with her DWC-52 nor did she bother identifying information for any single employer she claimed to have contacted. Instead, she simply wrote down the names of employers she allegedly contacted on the DWC-52.

As recently as October of this year, the version of the story the Division told the Supreme Court of Texas was that the Division requires every claimant (not assisted by the Workforce Commission) who is seeking entitlement to SIBS to provide copies of job applications with the DWC-52. Our firm made this argument to the ALJ mere weeks ago, providing the very words from the AG for her consideration, but the ALJ appears to have missed the Division’s memo on the subject. The ALJ found the claimant was entitled to SIBs.


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