Texas Workforce Commission applies for extra jobless money through Trump executive order

Texas

The Texas Workforce Commission’s headquarters building was closed on April 2, 2020 as tens of thousands of Texans were trying to get through online and on the phone to file unemployment applications. (KXAN Photo/Jody Barr)

This article has been updated throughout.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday the Texas Workforce Commission has applied for unemployment money made available through a President Trump executive order.

Gov. Abbott said TWC applied for additional benefit money as part of the President’s Lost Wage Assistance executive order. If granted, the funding will provide an extra $300 per week in unemployment benefits for qualifying Texans.

The executive order, signed by the President Aug. 8, provides the extra cash to people eligible for more than $100 of certain state unemployment benefits who lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Trump’s executive order, issued earlier this month, moved to charge states to pay 25% of a $400 payment through a federal unemployment program. Abbott’s announcement does not appear to address the $100 match from Texas, instead opting for $300 in federal money.

Gov. Abbott says those currently getting benefits should continue to request them as normal, and if eligible, they’ll receive the extra money on or after Aug. 23. The funds will be backdated to the week ending Aug. 1. A $600 payment expired at the start of the month when Congress failed to negotiate a deal by the end of July.

“The Lost Wage Assistance program will provide crucial financial support to Texans who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Abbott said in a prepared statement. “Texas is grateful to President Trump for making these funds available to individuals and asks that our federal partners quickly grant this request so that TWC can swiftly administer this funding to Texans.”

The state’s application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the extra COVID-19 unemployment payments seeks %7.24 billion to cover the additional payments, a TWC spokesperson confirmed.

Since mid-March, Texans have filed more than 4.5 million unemployment claims. In that time TWC has paid out more than $25 billion in state and federal benefits.

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