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Stories Added - July 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
TWC: Extended unemployment will be paid to qualifying Texans
Polk County Enterprise - July 2009
AUSTIN –The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is advising all currently qualified unemployment claimants that their benefits will be paid. Currently, more than 350,000 out-of-work Texans are receiving up to 59 weeks of unemployment benefits. Benefits are paid through the Texas Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, and during periods of high unemployment claim volume, interest-free loans are available to states from the federal government. Similar loans were utilized by TWC in 2003 resulting in uninterrupted payment of benefits. TWC adds staff at Workforce Centers to help Texans find jobs Texas jobseekers now have more assistance available as 348 new staff members have been added to workforce centers across the state, bringing the number of TWC Employment Services staff to nearly 1,000. TWC has hired the temporary employment services workers through funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Employment Services staff provide jobseekers help with services including job referrals, career counseling, training and support, and other employment services. In addition, the staff works with employers to post job openings and train their existing workforce. Long Term Benefits Approximately 15,000 long-term unemployment claimants who have received benefits for more than a year are being advised that there will be a delay in receiving the newly-enacted 13 weeks of state extended benefits. At the end of May, the Texas legislature approved the changes which allow for state extended benefits which have not been available since the early 1980s. This 13-week state extension is completely federally funded and is available to claimants that have exhausted 59 weeks of unemployment benefits. Those who qualify for the extension will receive payments retroactive to the date their current benefits end. The delay in the 13-week state benefit extension stems from complex federal requirements that must be programmed into TWC’s computer system.
The requirements for federally funded state extended benefits are significantly more stringent than the requirements for the previous federal extended benefit programs. All possible effort has been directed at addressing the necessary transition of the system to accommodate the stringent federal requirements. TWC is committed to implementing the newly enacted state extended benefits as soon as possible.