This will be the last week unemployed Texans receive the extra $300 a week in benefits that began in August following an executive order from President Donald Trump.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday informed the Texas Workforce Commission that funding for the Lost Wages Assistance Program is running out. TWC had warned this day would be coming, indicating FEMA controlled the limited funding and its end date.
FEMA previously approved TWC funding requests for the benefit weeks of:
- Aug. 1
- Aug. 8
- Aug. 15
- Aug. 22
- Aug. 29
- Sept. 5
Trump signed several executive orders in early August when Congressional negotiations on a new stimulus bill broke down. The Lost Wages Assistance Program was a temporary provision meant to replace the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits that were part of the original CARES Act. The pot of money set aside for the LWA was limited to $44 billion, spread among all 50 states.
Other provisions of the federal act do not expire until Dec. 26. This includes Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides an extra 13 weeks of benefits to persons who exhaust traditional benefits, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides up to 46 weeks of benefits to persons who are self-employed or who would not otherwise qualify for state benefits.
Negotiations on a second stimulus bill are expected to resume next week, when Congress returns from its summer break. There is hope being expressed that the end of the LWA will serve as an incentive for Republicans and Democrats to work toward an agreement on a new stimulus package. Both sides support extending some form of enhanced unemployment benefits, but they disagree on how much that should be.
And 66,330 Texans filed first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, compared with 56,675 claims in the preceding week. Since the start of the pandemic, about 3.4 million people in Texas have sought unemployment assistance. More than a million of them continue to receive unemployment benefits.
Across the nation, there were 884,000 new claims last week, which is about the same as the week before, according to the Labor Department. In addition, 838,916 people applied for benefits under the PUA for the gig workers and the self-employed, nearly 91,000 more than in the week ended Aug. 29, according to the report.
In total, 29.6 million people were still claiming benefits under all programs.
The TWC has more than 700,000 jobs available on workintexas.com. In addition, TWC is sponsoring virtual job fairs around the state. A complete list of the fairs is available here.
What you need to know if you are out of work
If you are newly unemployed, it is important that you apply for benefits as soon as possible because eligibility begins the week you apply. You will not be paid benefits for weeks before you apply.
How to apply
Apply for benefits in one of two ways:
- Apply online at Unemployment Benefit Services by selecting “Apply for Benefits.” Information about applying online is available in the Applying for Unemployment Benefits Tutorial.
- Call a Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 and speak to a customer service representative.
Information you will need to apply
- Your last employer’s business name, address and phone number.
- The first and last dates (month, day and year) you worked for your last employer. If you worked for your last employer on more than one occasion, provide the most recent employment dates.
- Number of hours worked and pay rate if you worked the week you apply for benefits (Sunday through Saturday).
- Information about the normal wage for the job you are seeking.
- Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen).