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Texas ends federal unemployment benefits for those affected by COVID

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 19:20:40-04

WACO, TX — Federal unemployment benefits that were put in place because of the pandemic are scheduled to end this week.

People who have been relying on additional federal unemployment due to COVID-19, will soon see a drastic drop in the size of their unemployment check.

The additional $300 weekly payments and the unemployment put in place for gig workers through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, will be ending on the June 26.

This is going to have a dramatic affect on around 500,000 people.

”The PUA program is for people that do not traditionally qualify for regular state benefits," said Cisco Gamez, public relations specialist for the Texas Workforce Commission. "So, that’s someone who is self-employed or an independent contractor or, they may have exhausted all other benefits so the fall into the PUA benefits.”

The benefits ending is a double-edged sward for gig workers and the economy.

”In the short run, it is going to cause some discomfort for the economy for gig workers because they’ve had a regular source if income of a finite amount.” said Dr. Rob Tennant, interim department chair for Accounting, Finance, and Economics at Texas A&M Central Texas.

The negative effect of the benefits ending is a trend that economists expect to last long.

”There is a good chance that many of them will make more money actually engaging in their gig work than they were in unemployment.” said Dr. Tennant.

Even though half a million people are losing federal benefits there are still plenty of job opportunities in Texas. The commission recommends browsing and for employment opportunities.

”There are approximately 800-thousand jobs posted at this time so there are jobs out there,” said Gamez.

The Texas Workforce Commission says the benefits are ending this week, but is advising that you may continue to request payment for all weeks for which you are eligible through June 26.