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Federal pandemic unemployment benefits end Saturday in Texas.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, pointing to a thriving economy with employers across the state hiring, announced in May that Texas was opting out of federal unemployment compensation for COVID-19. This includes the $300 weekly payments from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
The week ending Saturday is the last the Texas Workforce Commission will pay the federal benefits under the American Rescue Plan, commission spokesperson Cisco Gamez said in an email. The change will affect roughly 500,000 Texans, Gamez said, noting that there are 850,000 jobs posted on MyTXCareer.com and WorkInTexas.com, websites where employers can share available jobs.
Those receiving regular unemployment benefits who remain otherwise eligible will keep getting their benefits without the additional $300 weekly payment, he said.
“People that have not exhausted their regular benefits, the regular state benefits, they can continue to request payment,” Gamez said. “As long as they’re eligible, they’ll receive those.”
The federal programs ending in Texas include the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program.
Tarrant County had a 5.5% unemployment rate in May compared to 12% in May 2020, according to Texas Labor Market Information.
The Texas Workforce Commission earlier this month also announced it was ending a COVID-19-related work refusal guidance that allowed some to receive benefits if they declined jobs for reasons related to the pandemic, such has being at high risk for getting very sick from the virus.
“The decline in COVID cases in Texas, widespread availability of vaccines, and greater availability of services such as child care renders such guidance out of date as Texas ends certain federal unemployment programs with the benefit week ending June 26, 2021 and Texas’ economy continues to recover,” the commission said in a statement.
In a May letter opting out of the federal benefits, Abbott said Texas is focused on connecting Texans with employment opportunities. Here are some resources for job-seekers in North Texas.
Job opportunities in Tarrant County
Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County doesn’t handle unemployment benefits but can help connect people with resources for employment and training.
Spokesperson Lacey Douglas said there is a virtual job fair coming up on June 30 for the Fort Worth-area. The event is being held in partnership with the city of Fort Worth, Fort Worth ISD, Fort Worth Chamber, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber, Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber and Visit Fort Worth, she said in an email.
Job-seekers can also research careers and training programs at workforcesolutions.net/career-coach/.
Contact info for Texas Workforce Commission, Workforce Solutions
Texas Workforce Commission:
Phone number for unemployment benefits and claims: 800-939-6631
Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County
Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas