The outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) has resulted in a huge economic slowdown that is affecting employees across Texas, the United States, and the world.
As states begin to enact reopening plans, local and federal officials are stepping in with effective relief programs and resources to help communities deal with some of the difficulties.
Despite the fact that Texas Governor Greg Abbott released an executive order aimed at reopening key businesses following a mandatory shutdown, many Texans are still in need of help.
This informative guide explains the Texas benefits available, who is eligible, and how to get access to these additional resources. Have a look at the table of content that we'll cover ahead:
- Unemployment Benefits in Texas
- Understanding PUA and PEUC
- Steps to Apply for Unemployment
- Healthcare Relief in Texas
- Food Benefits in Texas
- Housing and Utilities Benefits
- Education Benefits in Texas
- Staying Safe at Work during Covid-19
- SNAP Assistance
- Resources for Small Business
- How Deskera Can Assist You?
Unemployment Benefits in Texas
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is in charge of administering the state's unemployment compensation for those who are unemployed or have considerably restricted work hours.
To be entitled to benefits in Texas, you must meet certain conditions. Check out:
- Have a part-time or full-time job.
- Make yourself available for full-time work.
- Must be mentally and physically competent of returning to work
- Must have earned a taxable minimum wage while employed in Texas and must not have been fired for any reason.
- Must diligently seek work while on unemployment benefits; it's worth mentioning that Texas has relaxed this rule due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, but will resume it once the crisis has passed.
TWC has also implemented the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which pays claimants obtaining unemployment insurance or federal benefits $600 per week.
Texas also offers Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
Understanding PUA and PEUC
Following we have discussed some major points associated with PUA and PEUC. Let’s discuss:
PUA: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Freelancers, self-employed workers, gig workers, independent contractors, and part-time workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic were temporarily eligible for unemployment payments under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.
PUA applicants need to self-certify that they would be fit and willing to work and that they were partially employed, unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to a COVID-19-related situation.
Employees will get up to Benefits for up to 39 weeks (The highest amount of unemployment insurance in Texas is 26 weeks; the PUA can continue benefits up to 39 weeks)
This program is for people who are self-employed, looking for part-time work, and do not qualify for regular Unemployment Compensation or Extended Benefits under state, federal, or PEUC law.
Also, as previously mentioned, they must have exhausted all other options for regular Unemployment Compensation or Extended Benefits under state, federal, or PEUC law.
You do not need to do anything else to enroll for PUA if you have previously applied for Unemployment Insurance (UI). TWC will assess your status and contact you by mail or email whether you are eligible.
PEUC: Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
The CARES Act established the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) system.
It also allows persons who have maxed their unemployment benefits to receive up to thirteen weeks of supplementary payments provided they are "able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work."
In simple words, this program is for those people who are able to work, available to work, and actively looking for a job.
Moreover, it is worth noting that Texas provides some flexibility around this requirement if individuals are unable to search for work due to COVID-19 movement restriction or illness.
It further includes those who do not have state and federal law entitlements to regular unemployment compensation and are not getting benefits under the Canadian Unemployment Compensation Act.
Steps to Apply for Unemployment
Through the TWC website, Texans who satisfy the qualifying standards can obtain unemployment insurance assistance. Follow these steps to apply for unemployment:
- Create an account or log in to an existing account on the TWC unemployment benefits website.
- Collect and submit essential information, such as contact information for your previous employer, start and last dates of employment, verification of your typical wage, and identification.
- Send us your information and we'll send you a confirmation.
Consult the TWC's online unemployment benefits application instruction for further details.
In view of the pandemic, the TWC has taken the following steps:
- The phone center's hours have been extended; call 800-939-6631.
- The week-long waiting time to start collecting benefits has been eliminated.
- All claimants are exempt from the work search requirement.
Healthcare Relief in Texas
Following we have discussed healthcare relief benefits in Texas. Check them:
Telemedicine Coverage in Texas
Governor Abbott has relaxed a number of regulations to make telemedicine more accessible to Texans. This essentially allows insurers to treat telemedicine as if it were an in-office doctor's visit and assure doctor professionals that telemedicine will be reimbursed.
Covid-19 Insurance and Testing
During the pandemic, if you accept any sort of state-provided Medicaid, your coverage will be renewed.
Those who need Medicaid coverage, irrespective of whether they have recently been denied, can enroll at YourTexasBenefits.com.
Individuals who have health insurance through the state's managed healthcare marketplace should check their policies to see what is included for COVID-19 treatment.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, on the other hand, mandates that all COVID-19-related care, including preventative measures, medications, and other medical treatments, be covered by insurance companies.
Healthcare professionals will also be reimbursed at the standard rate for providing healthcare to the uninsured under the federal Medicare system as a result of the Act.
Covid-19 Treatment Coverage
Various healthcare providers, including drive-up clinics, mobile test collecting locations, and hospitals, are providing testing throughout the state.
The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services keeps a list of COVID-19 testing locations on their website.
In Texas' state-regulated market, over 95% of insurers and health coverage providers are waiving their expenses for medically necessary COVID-19 testing.
However, you must verify with your insurer to see if there are any additional criteria, such as a co-pay or a recommendation from a physician.
Medicaid has been used to entirely finance uninsured people's tests. The bill also included a $1 billion disaster relief fund to subsidize treatment for the uninsured and those found Medicaid ineligible.
Food Benefits in Texas
Following we have discussed food benefits in Texas. Check them:
Texans who need food can make use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the Summer Lunch Program for school-aged children, and the Texas Food Bank Network.
During the outbreak, states such as Texas were granted waivers allowing WIC beneficiaries to substitute certain qualifying food items for others in order to increase the resources that are available to them.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will provide additional funding to WIC and the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
Housing and Utilities Benefits
Following we have discussed Housing and Utilities benefits in Texas. Check them:
"Several but not all" power companies, according to the THCA, have halted disconnecting service from houses and are forgiving late costs during the outbreak. The state recommends contacting your provider to find out what policies they have in place, as well as any relief they may be able to provide.
The Texas Apartment Association is urging landlords to deal with renters who may be impacted by COVID-19. Tenants should contact their property managers or look for help from a non-profit or faith-based organization.
Texas also cites federal initiatives to help prevent evictions, such as a 120-day eviction moratorium established in the CARES Act for anyone living on federal property.
Mortgage Relief and Forbearance
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) recommends that owners who are unable to make their mortgage costs contact their loan servicers to request lower or halted payments.
Homeowners who have a Freddie Mac loan should call 972-395-4000 or go to the servicer's COVID-19 page, according to the state.
If you have a Fannie Mae loan, the state recommends calling their Consumer Resource Center at 800-232-6643, option 4, or going to their COVID-19 page.
TexasLawHelp provides the following links for bankruptcy information. See also:
- About Bankruptcy and COVID-19
- Bankruptcy and COVID-19 Stimulus or Recovery Rebate Funds
- Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions by Tarrant County Bar Association
During the COVID-19 crisis, the National Consumer Law Center has made its Surviving Debt handbook available for free. You can check out Chapters 24 and 25 that discuss bankruptcy.
Education Benefits in Texas
Following we have discussed education benefits in Texas. Check out:
Anyone presently making student loan payments should call the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to see if they are qualified for a lower payment or a temporary deferral of payments.
If you get a postponement, you'll still have to pay interest on the installments you missed.
If a borrower's student loans are already past due, the THECB has notified that all collection operations for late or defaulted loans have been discontinued.
In addition, the board stated that it will neither charge late fees nor file records with major credit bureaus.
Resources for Small Business
Check COVID-19 Small Business Loans and Other Resources for further information on small business support.
Coronavirus Relief Options are available for small enterprises through the US Small Business Administration. Examine your selections in the table below.
- Bridge Loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Debt Relief from the Small Business Administration
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance
- Paycheck Protection Program
Also, check out the US Chamber of Commerce's Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Checklist and Guide.
Staying Safe at Work during Covid-19
Gov. Abbott has already injected new funds into the program, which is administered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
For the length of the epidemic, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is relaxing interview and employment conditions and effectively renewing SNAP benefits for current recipients.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Unemployment Benefits
Following we have discussed some major frequently asked questions (FAQs) associated with unemployment benefits. Have a look:
Que 1: Is it possible for me to receive unemployment benefits if I lose my job or have my working hours reduced as a result of COVID-19?
Ans: If you lose your work or have your hours shortened as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, you should be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Que 2: Am I eligible for benefits if my manager sends me back due to COVID-19?
Ans: You may be eligible if you are not receiving your regular monetary compensation and do not have paid leave or enough paid leave to cover the time off.
Que 3: If my supervisor reduced my hours due to COVID-19, am I eligible for unemployment benefits?
Ans: Yes. You may be eligible for partial unemployment if your hours are cut. You can check your eligibility by calling TWC's Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time.
Que 4: If I stay home to care for a sick family member, are I eligible for unemployment benefits?
Ans: You might be eligible if you lose your job and the family member you're caring for is a sick child. You might not be eligible if a family member is an adult.
Que 5: What is the procedure for applying for unemployment benefits?
Ans: If COVID-19 has affected your job, you can apply for benefits at any time through Unemployment Benefits Services or by contacting TWC's Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday.
Call volumes and hold times are both increasing at TWC. To manage your claim demands swiftly, you should use their online claim system, Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS).
Que 6: To apply for benefits, what information do I need?
Ans: To get started, you'll need the following items:
- Number of the Social Security Administration
- Name, location, and phone number of your previous job
- Dates you worked for your previous job for the first and last time
- Military employment (service) start/end dates and a copy of your DD Form 214(s) if you served in the military within the last 18 months.
Furthermore, your unique registration number is required if you are not a U.S. citizen or national.
Que 7: If I am approved for benefits, how much will I receive?
Ans: The amount of unemployment compensation you receive fluctuates. You can calculate your unemployment benefits using the internet.
If you have a pension, annuity, or other retirement income, it may alter the number of unemployment benefits you receive.
Que 8: How long do I have to wait before I can apply for help?
Ans: If you lose your work as a result of COVID-19, you should apply as soon as possible.
The Texas Workforce Commission has waived the one-week waiting time for persons who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19.
Que 9: COVID-19 forced me to lay off employees at my company. Will I be required to contribute to my employees' unemployment benefits?
Ans: COVID-19 unemployment claims are not levied on employers.
Que 10: Where should I look for a new job?
Ans: WorkInTexas.com is a website where you may look for employment in Texas. For the most up-to-date information, go to the Texas Workforce Commission's website.
How Deskera Can Assist You?
Deskera People allows you to conveniently manage leave, attendance, payroll, and other expenses. Generating payslips for your employees is now easy as the platform also digitizes and automates HR processes.
Finally, you've reached the conclusion of this comprehensive guide. We've highlighted a few key elements for your future reference. Let's get started:
- The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is in charge of administering the state's unemployment compensation for those who are unemployed or have considerably restricted work hours.
- TWC has also implemented the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which pays claimants obtaining unemployment insurance or federal benefits $600 per week.
- You do not need to do anything else to enroll for PUA if you have previously applied for Unemployment Insurance (UI). TWC will assess your status and contact you by mail or email whether you are eligible.
- It is worth noting that Texas provides some flexibility around this requirement if individuals are unable to search for work due to COVID-19 movement restriction or illness.
- Individuals who have health insurance through the state's managed healthcare marketplace should check their policies to see what is included for COVID-19 treatment.
- Texas also cites federal initiatives to help prevent evictions, such as a 120-day eviction moratorium established in the CARES Act for anyone living on federal property.
- Gov. Abbott has already injected new funds into the program, which is administered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.