Unemployment insurance can help those who still can't earn

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Posted at 3:57 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 17:05:26-04

On Friday, KRIS 6 News told you the state would be rolling back leniencies put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualifications that were waived during the height of the novel coronavirus, such as applying for five jobs a week, will be reinstated soon.

But for those who still need help, and are willing to follow the standard unemployment guidelines, it will still be available.

Some people have already made their way back to work, but others are finding it more challenging.

Samantha Wilhite is a wife and has a child. She has been furloughed from her job since the pandemic started, and she's still unsure when she will be able to head back to work.

"Everything is very much in the air right now, which is stressful," she said. "Because I have no idea what's gonna happen."

​Wilhite said the biggest help has been receiving unemployment benefits.

"I don't think that we would be able to have survived, or be able to survive this long, without the unemployment benefits."

Wilhite isn't only one in this position: The Texas Workforce Commission said, since mid-March, it already has helped over 3 million Texans apply for state unemployment benefits.

"In fact if you compare to 2019, it's about four years of claims in just under three months," said Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson Cisco Gamez.

According to TWC, the U.S. Department of Labor notified the Texas Workforce Commission it will provide additional unemployment insurance funding to extend state benefits through the end of the year.

"Where they could potentially be eligible for benefits longer than the normal 26 weeks, the additional 13 weeks through the CARES Act, and now an additional 13 weeks through extended benefits," Gamez said.

Federal extended benefits will begin the week of July 4.

Gamez said if anyone is unemployed, or receiving fewer wages than before because of the pandemic, then apply for unemployment insurance. The process is the same as applying for standard unemployment benefits.

He said it takes less than seven minutes and all you need is your address and social security number.