More than a third of state agencies are using AI. Texas is beginning to examine its potential impact.
Amid fears that AI could heighten bias or affect privacy, the state is forming an advisory committee to recommend how the technology is deployed. “We’re gonna have to set up some rules,” the committee’s founder says.
Texas cities have adopted ordinances to benefit workers. Sweeping legislation could roll many back.
Lawmakers say their bills are needed to provide small businesses with consistent regulations and that regulatory power should be returned to the state. Labor groups say the proposal could undo hard-fought measures to protect workers.
Watch: Labor and economy experts discuss how the Texas economy has adapted during the pandemic
Tribune energy and economy reporter Mitchell Ferman moderated a conversation with labor and economic development experts who discussed how COVID-19 has affected Texas’ economy and how businesses, workers and government have responded.
Without child care, Texas’ unemployed mothers are struggling to reenter the workforce as federal benefits cease
Many Texas mothers are ready to return to work, but a lack of child care is keeping them at home. Alicia Reed worries how she will provide for her four children after her federal unemployment benefits are cut at the end of June.
Unemployed Texans will stop getting additional $300-per-week benefit next month after Gov. Greg Abbott opts out of federal program
The unemployment rate in Texas was 6.9% in March, which is more than double the record low of 3.4% in May 2019. The extra $300 federal benefit will end June 26 for jobless Texans.
Suspicious unemployment claims explode during pandemic
Karl Wanke was stunned to open a letter from the Texas Workforce Commission to learn he'd not only filed for unemployment, but had been paid. Turns out, he's one of a surging number of people whose identities were used to fraudulently pocket payouts.
Texas’ unemployment system is confusing and frustrating. Here’s how to navigate it.
Regular unemployment benefits:This traditional unemployment program provides assistance for up to 26 weeks per year. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA):If you apply for unemployment and the workforce commission finds that you do not qualify for regular benefits, the agency should automatically consider you for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and enroll you if you are found eligible. Here, under the claim information section, you will see your claim type listed as: Regular Unemployment Benefits, Disaster Unemployment Benefits (for now, this is the same as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance), or Temporary Unemployment Benefits (extensions). If you have exhausted your Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and have not recently been on regular unemployment, you don’t qualify for any kind of extension. Unless Congress takes action to extend the pandemic unemployment benefits in the CARES Act, two programs will expire after Dec. 26: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC.
Here are the acronyms and terms you need to know to get unemployment benefits in Texas
disqualifiedIf you receive notice that you’ve been disqualified from unemployment benefits, it means something has prevented you from receiving them. In Texas, DUA has become synonymous with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, during the coronavirus pandemic. Temporary Unemployment BenefitsPrograms that temporarily extend unemployment benefits are housed under this classification, including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Extended Benefits (EB) and High Unemployment Period (HUP). Programs that temporarily extend unemployment benefits are housed under this classification, including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Extended Benefits (EB) and High Unemployment Period (HUP). UI, UC, UA, UEUnemployment insurance, unemployment compensation, unemployment assistance, unemployment.
As Texas asks her to repay unemployment aid, a Dallas County instructor faces confusing appeals process to fight back
The Texas Workforce Commission says it overpaid $214 million in unemployment aid and sent out about 260,000 notices to people in hopes of recouping that money. A Texas Workforce Commission notice that the agency has determined someone was overpaid benefits. “I didn’t have a job.”Ahead of her initial hearing, Stevens was not told what she had done wrong. The workforce commission also ordered him to repay $5,210 in benefits it determined he should not have received. The judge was interested in discussing the University of Michigan’s involvement, but Stevens’ job loss concerned the college in Dallas.
Six months into the pandemic, out-of-work Texans are still struggling to navigate unemployment system
When Christine Brill’s unemployment benefits from the Texas Workforce Commission suddenly plummeted this summer, she tried calling the agency to find out what happened. Nearly 350,000 Texans didn’t initially qualify for that extra money, including some who failed to originally indicate they had lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Brill is too anxious to do anything, but takes it one day at a time while Congress sits in a stalemate. In April, during a monthlong statewide shutdown, Texas’ unemployment rate ballooned to more than 13% — four-times what it was in January. With potential evictions and utility cut-offs looming in the coming months, Rodriguez is worried this fall could be devastating.
State mistakenly tells San Antonio man to pay back $4,000 in overpaid unemployment benefits
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio resident Kelvin Taylor lost his job in May when the coronavirus pandemic forced his company to lay off workers. Taylor did what hundreds of thousands of Texans have done this year: he applied for and got unemployment benefits. Taylor thought he had done everything right when he applied for benefits the day after his company laid him off. The company would continue to pay Taylor his full salary until that money ran out. “And then when (the checks) stopped, I started reporting zero earnings because I was looking for work,” Taylor said.
SeaWorld San Antonio lays off 242 employees
SAN ANTONIO – SeaWorld San Antonio has laid off 242 employees, according to documents the theme park submitted to the Texas Workforce Commission. According to SeaWorld San Antonio Park President Byron Surrett, the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the theme park’s attendance and revenue. Laid-off workers can apply for future positions at any SeaWorld park. The same is true for the travel, tourism, entertainment, and hospitality industries, and the operations of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. – SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.
The out-of-work Texans who get less than $100 in unemployment aid each week don’t qualify for Trump’s additional $300
It was no problem for Saltillo, though, after Congress passed sweeping legislation in March that included an extra $600 per week for anyone receiving unemployment benefits. But a subsequent announcement clarified that people would actually receive $300 per week, and an additional $100 if states decided to chip in that money. “I was thinking all the way up to two or three days ago, I was expecting this money,” Saltillo said Sunday. But just for anyone who isn't aware of what's going on, this is affecting people who you might not realize.”Despite not receiving the extra money, Saltillo said he does not feel bad for himself. He's taking a wait-and-see approach to figuring out whether student loans and $69 a week in unemployment he can sustain him and his son that long.
Nearly 350,000 unemployed Texans don’t qualify for extra $300 weekly benefit
Approximately 347,700 Texans currently receiving unemployment benefits do not qualify for the additional $300 weekly payments issued by the Trump administration, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. Those Texans could change their status when filling out future payment requests, Gamez said, and could then qualify for the extra $300 payments. In total, about 1.7 million Texans are currently receiving unemployment benefits, Gamez said, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend businesses across the state. Greg Abbott closed bars in June, which contributed to the largest group of Texans claiming unemployment benefits — workers in the accommodation and food services sector. But for the approximately 347,700 Texans who do not qualify, they will continue to see the same unemployment payments they’ve been receiving in August, after the extra $600 weekly payments expired.
Unemployment rate in Bexar County dropped in July, report shows
SAN ANTOIO – The unemployment rate decreased in July in Bexar County, according to Workforce Solutions Alamo. The organization’s monthly report shows the rate in Bexar County is now at 8.3%, which is down by 0.3% from June. Bexar County had the lowest unemployment rate compared to the other 12 counties covered by Workforce Solution Alamo, the report shows. The overall Texas rate of unemployment also decreased by 0.4%. To learn more about unemployment rate in Bexar County, click here.
As Congress feuds over unemployment payments, many jobless Texans are about to lose a $600 weekly benefit
If Congress doesn’t extend the $600 benefit, that will leave many Texans getting anywhere from $69 to $521 per week in unemployment benefits. Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz opposes extending the weekly $600 payments. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s office said the Texas senator supports extending unemployment assistance but did not specify whether he supports extending the weekly $600 payments. Allie Goulding/The Texas TribuneEconomists say the end of the weekly $600 payments will lead to Texans with less spending money to fuel an economic recovery. Mason fears what will happen if the weekly $600 payments end Saturday and he is still working reduced hours.
Texas reverses course, says it won't collect overpaid unemployment benefits in instances when it was the state's mistake
Eddie Gaspar/The Texas TribuneWorkers who lost their jobs and received overpayments from the Texas Workforce Commission wont have to pay back those unemployment benefits if it was the states mistake, commission officials now say. The agency is seeking $32 million in unemployment benefits back. If TWC finds unemployment fraud in a case, the person has to give back the benefits and pay a 15% penalty. More than 117,244 people applied for unemployment claims last week, an increase of 21.4% compared to the week before. Since mid-March, nearly 2.8 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in Texas.
Texas clawing back $32 million in unemployment benefits after finding 46,000 people were overpaid
Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas TribuneMore than 46,000 Texans who lost their jobs in recent months are having portions of their unemployment benefits clawed back after the Texas Workforce Commission found that they were initially overpaid. State law requires TWC to recover all unemployment benefits overpayments, Cisco Gamez, spokesperson for the state agency, said in an email. If TWC finds unemployment fraud in a case, the person has to give back the benefits and pay a 15% penalty. "We cannot pay you benefits if you have an overpayment," Gamez said. There is no statute of limitations on debts owed to the state, Gamez said on an email.
Reversing course, Texas will delay work-search requirement for unemployment benefits
The Texas Workforce Commission Building in Austin on March 30, 2020. Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas TribuneThe Texas Workforce Commission decided Tuesday to postpone reinstating a work-search requirement for out-of-work Texans receiving unemployment benefits. The requirement that Texans be actively searching for a job in order to receive benefits was initially slated to go into effect Monday. Gamez originally defended the July 6 reinstatement of the work-search requirement, noting that the searches can be performed remotely in order to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. Work search activities can be completed at home without potential exposure to COVID-19, he wrote in a June 16 email to the Texas Tribune.
Texas to reinstate work-search requirement for unemployment benefits
The Texas Workforce Commission decided Tuesday to restore its work search requirement beginning July 6. The TWC also noted that work search is federally required for unemployment benefits, and that such benefits are intended to provide temporary relief, rather than a permanent solution, to jobless individuals. The work search requirement does not mean workers must take the first job available, according to a TWC press release. Keep good records and save your work search documentation, the Commission wrote in a Tuesday press release. Three work search activities could be going on WorkinTexas.com and searching for jobs three different times, he said.
Texans still face obstacles to collecting unemployment benefits months into the coronavirus pandemic's economic crisis
More than 2.2 million Texans have filed unemployment claims as the economy is being battered by limited statewide commerce during the pandemic and a downturn in the states massive energy industry. On Thursday morning, the TWC is expected to release the number of people who filed unemployment claims last week. Esther Griffins unemployment claim was approved shortly after she filed in early April. Griffins employer reopened, but she couldnt return to work because she didnt have the money needed to send her youngest child to day care since she went weeks without a paycheck or unemployment benefits. Without unemployment benefits, they might have to defer payments for April, May and June to the end of their 30-year mortgage.
Texans could receive up to a year of unemployment benefits under second extension of aid
The U.S. Department of Labor notified the Texas Workforce Commission on Monday that the state triggered what's called State Extended Benefits, which provides 13 additional weeks of unemployment aid. That comes after a federal coronavirus relief bill previously extended some unemployment benefits for 13 weeks under what's called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. The first week Texans could start receiving these newest extended benefits is the week ending July 4, which is 13 weeks after the PEUC extension took effect in the state. People must first exhaust the standard 26 weeks, plus the additional 13 weeks under PEUC, before receiving the additional 13 weeks of extended benefits, said Cisco Gamez, spokesperson for the commission. PEUC is also what allows Texans to receive an additional $600 in benefits per week for up to 13 weeks.
TWC: Some Texans can still receive unemployment if they don’t return to work right away
SAN ANTONIO – Some local health experts have said reopening San Antonio businesses right now may be a bit premature. This has led to some concerns among workers that don’t feel comfortable going back to work just yet. Governor Greg Abbott addressed these concerns and announced the Texas Workforce Commission has issued new guidance to unemployment claimants concerned about their eligibility for benefits, should they choose not to return to work right away. Greg Abbott has released his plans to reopen Texas. Report: Texas sees one of the largest increases in unemployment in the U.S. amid COVID-19 outbreak
Unemployment eligibility unclear for employees afraid to return work because of coronavirus
SAN ANTONIO – Businesses are beginning to reopen all throughout the state, but many people may not want to return to work while COVID-19 is still prevalent throughout San Antonio. “Am I basically telling everyone to go back on unemployment?” Garcia asked. A guide to unemployment benefits for Texans laid off during coronavirus pandemicThe bigger question is will his employees still be eligible? Persons returning to work with reduced hours may still qualify for unemployment insurance. Depending on amount of wages earned, claimant may or may not continue to qualify for unemployment insurance.
90 calls in single day, 6 weeks of trying, still no benefits: One Texan’s experience with unemployment office
Ibarra said he followed all the necessary steps to collect state unemployment benefits, including submitting an application online and receiving a notification indicating what he would receive. Records shared with us show that the commission is still reviewing Ibarra’s claim to determine if he is eligible to receive benefits. Texas is running out of money to pay unemployment benefits. Reached for comment Monday, a TWC spokeswoman released the following statement:I do know that there is a waiting period but if you have been told you are eligible you will receive benefits. Ibarra said with his rent due at the end of the week, it is becoming more difficult to be patient.
Abbott: 175 Texans have died from COVID-19; nearly 1,500 hospitalized
During a news conference at the State Capitol, Abbott said 1,491 people have been hospitalized across the state, and more than 96,250 Texans have been tested for COVID-19, with 9,107 positive results. Abbott said as of Tuesday, there were 21,066 hospital beds, 2,225 ICU beds and more than 7,000 ventilators available in Texas. Abbott said the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is under siege trying to process unemployment benefits for millions of Texans who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Abbott said TWC will likely process more claims in a five-week period than it did for all of 2019. COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019.
Workforce Solutions Alamo to temporarily close career centers for COVID-19 mitigation
SAN ANTONIO – Workforce Solutions Alamo will temporarily close its career centers, effective Thursday. The decision was made in order to protect employers, employees and residents, a news release said. “This announcement comes under the advisement of the Texas Workforce Commission and follows the closures of other workforce centers throughout the state in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” the news release said. “The Texas Workforce Commission is providing additional resources to be more responsive to unemployment claims,” the news release said. COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019.
‘I pay my bills off my tips’: Unemployed and uncertain after businesses close their doors
‘I pay my bills off my tips’: Unemployed and uncertain after businesses close their doorsPublished: March 25, 2020, 10:27 pm‘I pay my bills off my tips’: Unemployed and uncertain after businesses close their doors
Watch: Texas Workforce Commission answer your unemployment questions on Facebook
SAN ANTONIO – As unemployment claims soar throughout Texas amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Texas Workforce Commission will held a Facebook livestream to answer frequently asked questions. #COVID19 #StayHomeTexas #unemployment Posted by Texas Workforce Commission on Wednesday, March 25, 2020Since COVID-19 began spreading throughout communities in Texas, city and county emergency declarations and stay-at-home orders have shut down several businesses. In a recent interview, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said that the unemployment rate in Texas is around 9%. Texas unemployment rate headed toward double digits, comptroller warnsMore than 16,000 claims have already been filed with the commission between March 8 through March 14. COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019.
With millions out of work, furloughed Texas workers struggle to file for unemployment
HOUSTON – Millions around the country are filing for unemployment after being laid off or furloughed as the economy grinds to a halt. She was furloughed last weekend has been trying to get through to the Texas Workforce Commission. And then this morning, I got the recording that said due to the high volume we’re not accepting calls at this time,” Klovenski said. The TWC Executive director, Ed Serna, is also hosting a Facebook Live Q&A addressing the coronavirus and unemployment questions. The Facebook live will take place Wednesday March 25 on the TWC Facebook page.
A guide to unemployment benefits for Texans laid off during coronavirus pandemic
How to apply for unemployment amid coronavirus concernsSAN ANTONIO – After one year, the coronavirus pandemic has still left many Texans out of work. The legislation extends Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through September 4, 2021. People who live in the San Antonio area should call Workforce Solutions Alamo at 210-224-HELP. Besides trying to get people employed again, Workforce Solutions Alamo can also assist people in applying for unemployment insurance through the Texas Workforce Commission. How to apply for unemployment insuranceThe Texas Workforce Commission website has been updated for the latest information related to relief efforts during the pandemic.