Austin, TX – Governor Greg Abbott says Texas will apply for federal funding to provide an extra $300 every week for people who have lost their jobs. More than ten states have already been federally approved for the additional jobless relief, providing an extra $300 to $400 in unemployment checks.
The directive from Abbott comes as over 61 thousand Texans applied for unemployment relief in the week ending August 15 alone. In total, more than 3.2 million Texans have applied for jobless assistance since the coronavirus pandemic began. In March, Congress passed a broad coronavirus relief package that added $600 to people’s weekly unemployment checks, but the benefit expired at the end of July. That has left many on an island after already having difficulty meeting basic bills due to the pandemic.
In early August, President Trump issued an executive order that he said would add $400 to people’s unemployment checks to help them weather life upended by the coronavirus. The White House later clarified that the federal government would provide $300 per week, and states could decide whether they wanted to contribute an additional $100.
Abhi Rahman, spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party, said the $300 a week would not be enough. “It is time for Trump and Abbott to stop nickel and diming our families,” Rahman said in a statement Thursday. “We need real relief right now.”
“The Lost Wage Assistance program will provide crucial financial support to Texans who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Abbott said in a statement Thursday. “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 the Texas Workforce Commission can swiftly administer this funding to Texans.”
“Claimants currently receiving unemployment through TWC should continue to request payments as normal”, according to Abbott’s office. “Eligible claimants should expect to receive the additional benefits on their first payment request on or after August 23. These funds will be backdated to the benefit week ending August 1.”
After the previous extra funding expired at the end of July, the United States Congress has been unable to come up with a deal to reauthorize them. Of course, they have continued to receive their salaries through all of this and have not had to do without.