Texas Plans to Opt Out of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Funds in June
It's been a long, long road to recovery, but Texas has been opening up and people have been itching to get back to work and live their lives again.
Today, Governor Greg Abbott told the U.S. Department of Labor that the Lone Star State will be opting out of any further federal unemployment benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic as of June 26, 2021.
That includes the additional $300 per week that's been coming from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
“The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities throughout the state,” Abbott said Monday. “According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment benefits. That assessment does not include the voluminous jobs that typically are not listed, like construction and restaurant jobs. In fact, there are nearly 60 percent more jobs open (and listed) in Texas today than there was in February 2020, the month before the Pandemic hit Texas.”
Abbott cited data from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) he says indicates that nearly 45% of jobs currently posted offer wages over $15.50 per hour.
The governor also said his decision was prompted by a high level of fraudulent unemployment claims being filed.
"Fraudulent unemployment claims rob taxpayer money and do nothing to help the unemployed," Abbott said. "TWC estimates that nearly 18 percent of all claims for unemployment benefits during the pandemic are confirmed or suspected to be fraudulent, which totals more than 800,000 claims, worth as much as $10.4 billion, if all claims had been paid."
You can read Gov. Abbott's notice to the U.S. Department of Labor here.
If you're still looking for work and have been counting on that extra $300, it's looking like you'll need to find something soon or be very careful with your budgeting.