Abbott Ending Federal Pandemic Payment for Texans – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
What to know
- Governor Abbott Selects Texans from Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program.
- Upon exiting the program, the US $ 300 weekly unemployment benefit from the federal government will end.
- The end date is June 26, 2021, according to the governor.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) says Texas will turn down further federal unemployment benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic next month, ending the federal government’s $ 300 weekly unemployment allowance to unemployed Texans to help get back to work and contain fraudulent jobless claims.
He’s joining at least a dozen other governors, all of whom are Republicans, who are opting out of federal extra unemployment benefits this summer.
The money is part of President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus measure approved in March and is expected to expire in September. But corporate groups urged Abbott to opt out early, arguing that doing so would hamper the recovery of the Texan economy.
More expanded Texas unemployment benefits, including one that makes gig workers and self-employed workers eligible for the first time, will also end in June.
Abbott made the announcement Monday afternoon, saying it had informed the US Department of Labor in a letter that the state would reject effective June 26.
“The Texan economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities across the state,” Abbott said. “According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job vacancies in Texas is almost the same as the number of Texans receiving unemployment benefits.”
Abbott said the job vacancy rating “doesn’t include the large jobs that aren’t typically listed, like construction and restaurant jobs. In fact, there are nearly 60 percent more open (and listed) positions in Texas today than there were in February 2020. a month before the pandemic in Texas. “
“In this phase of 100 percent opening of the state, the focus must be on helping unemployed Texans connect with the more than one million vacancies rather than paying unemployment benefits to stay off the job list,” Abbott said in a statement.
According to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), according to the governor, “nearly 45 percent of the jobs advertised offer wages in excess of $ 15.50 an hour. About 76 percent pay more than $ 11.50 an hour. Only 2 percent of those advertised Jobs pay roughly the minimum wage. “
Abbott said the high number of fraudulent jobless claims was another reason to cut federal benefits.
In the governor’s statement, he said the TWC had estimated that nearly 18 percent of all unemployment benefit claims during the pandemic would be confirmed or suspected to be fraudulent. That equates to more than 800,000 claims worth up to $ 10.4 billion if all claims had been paid.
NBC 5 responses reported in April that the Texas Workforce Commission identified 373,000 applicants as suspected of identity theft between March 2020 and March 2021. Compare that to the 1,142 suspicious claims made in 2019.
The TWC noted that not all identified claims have been confirmed as identity theft, but most likely. Of the 373,000 claims that were deemed suspicious during the pandemic, the TWC stopped most of the claims, around 255,000, before defaulting on payments. Even so, the TWC estimated that it paid fraudulent unemployment benefits of around $ 577 million during the pandemic.
The TWC announced Monday afternoon that it and its workforce solutions partners would continue to offer services to help individuals find work and training. The TWC said they will provide additional information to applicants if they deviate from federal programs.