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Unemployment: What to do if your benefit year ends

The week ending April 4, 2020, was the biggest jump in unemployment claims within at least two decades. Nearly 315,000 people filed for unemployment that week.

AUSTIN, Texas — Most people approaching a year of unemployment benefits will continue to receive money.

The federal government offered extensions after regular unemployment insurance payouts expired last year.

The CARES Act opened up qualifications for benefits to more people, including part-time employees and self-employed.

The amount paid was based on what the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) calls a “benefit year.”

KVUE News asked TWC what will happen to those unemployed since the start of the pandemic.

“If they have never gone back to work, they are automatically enrolled in the new ARP benefits with no gaps. If they did go back to work and then subsequently were unemployed again, they will likely have a gap. In that case, we will reach out to them and let them know what information we need,” James Bernsen, deputy director of communications, said.

“The majority of claimants should not reapply for benefits. Reapplying for benefits could cause delays by creating duplicate claims,” Cisco Gamez, TWC media and public relations specialist, said in a Facebook video posted on March 23.

Regular unemployment insurance pays out to 26 weeks.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) begins when unemployment insurance expires. PEUC is set to end the week of Sept. 4.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program extends from 50 weeks to a max of 79 weeks under ARPA. PUA benefits are for those who do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits.

“This program temporarily expands unemployment benefit eligibility to self-employed workers, gig economy workers, part-time workers and others impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who might not otherwise be traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits,” the TWC website shows.

Some receiving benefits are considered a “mixed earner.”  

“The America Rescue Plan will provide an additional $100 weekly payments to individuals receiving regular benefits and who earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income in 2020 through the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program. The American Rescue Plan’s MEUC program is available for eligible claimants between the weeks ending March 20, 2021, and Setp. 4, 2021,” the TWC website shows.

The bottom line is that the TWC suggests anyone unemployed to keep requesting benefits and check your TWC correspondence inbox.

Also, make sure the TWC address on file is current, as well as your email address and phone number.

Anyone who receives benefits is eligible for an additional $300. This program, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), expires the week ending Sept 4.

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