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$400 Unemployment Benefits In Texas: What Should You Know

Updated : August 31st, 2020

On Saturday, President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders that provide an additional $400 benefits to people who have lost their job due to the Coronavirus-induced economic shutdown. Qualified people are expected to receive the payment soon. However, it is unclear when the unemployed would receive $400 unemployment benefits in Texas.

In this article, we will tell you when the Texans can expect an additional $400 unemployment benefits and how to qualify for the payment. But before that, let’s quickly learn more about the extra unemployment benefits.

More about $400 Unemployment Benefits 

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Benefits that provided an additional $600 per week expired on July 31, and Congress has been unable to reach an agreement and extend the program.

Even since the expiration of the $600 unemployment benefits program, Americans struggle even harder to meet their basic needs. To help them, President Donald Trump signed an order that provides an extra $400 unemployment benefits per week. That is $200 less than what the Americans were previously receiving. 

Also, under the new program, the states are required to fund 25% of additional unemployment benefits. That is, the order requires states to pay $100 of the $400 unemployment benefits. But states like Texas are already struggling financially, and now the $100 portion has added more to it. 

On Monday, the Texas Workforce Commission said that “It is currently reviewing the presidential memoranda and will give additional details once it becomes available.”

So, When Will Texans Receive $400 Unemployment Benefits?

As per the order, the $400 unemployment benefits take effect on August 1. However, the payment would take weeks to reach the qualified. But this may not be the case in Texas. 

Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst and researcher at the National Employment Law Project (NELP), stated that the program is harder to implement, and the state would take months to implement the program finally.  

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), on the other hand, stated that it is seeking guidance from the Department of Labor (DOL) on how to interpret the program and proceed with its implementation.

Who Qualifies For $400 Unemployment Benefits In Texas?

To receive additional unemployment benefits in Texas, you should meet certain eligibility criteria. Some of them include:

  • One should qualify for regular unemployment benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program or any other federal unemployment program
  • One should receive at least $100 regular unemployment benefits per week

In Texas, Unemployment Insurance benefits range from $69 to $521 per week. Anyone falling below the $100 threshold cannot qualify for $400 unemployment benefits. 

Since Texas unemployment benefits fluctuate from one week to another, the Texas Workforce Commission will verify if the applicants are eligible to receive the extra $300 or $400 benefits each week. When the program begins, the payment will be sent to claimants from the week that ended August 1, which is the week that immediately follows the expiration of the $600 program.

How Much Benefits Will Texans Receive Under The New Program?

Under the new program, eligible Texans will either receive regular/traditional unemployment benefits plus $300 if the state does not provide $100, or $400 if the state decides to contribute its portion. 

For instance, if an individual receives $250 under regular unemployment benefits, he or she can receive $250+$300 or $250+$400 depending on the participation of the state in the program. 

How long Will The $400 Unemployment Benefits Payment Last? 

How long the new unemployment benefits program lasts depends on how high the unemployment rate remains. Under the executive order, the qualified Americans can collect $400 weekly unemployment benefits until the total balance of the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) of the Department of Homeland Security falls to $25 billion or FEMA expends $44 billion from DRF. 

Are $400 Unemployment Benefits Taxable?

The answer is yes! The additional unemployment benefits are considered a taxable income and are subject to federal and state income taxes. 

What To Do If One Doesn’t Qualify For $400 Unemployment Benefits?

Texans can opt for alternative programs if they do not qualify for the additional unemployment benefits program. Some of them include:

Work Search Help From Workforce Solutions Office

Although the Workforce Solutions office doesn’t provide financial help, unlike the $400 program, it can help you with your job search and provide training opportunities. The Workforce Solutions office provides several services at zero cost. Some of them include:

  • Job search help
  • Information about job fairs
  • Latest details about the local labor market
  • Information on job training programs
  • Use of fax machines and computers 
  • Details on child care assistance or transportation 
  • Seminars to assist the needy to maximize the work search efforts
  • Assistance in creating a resume and improve the job interview skills

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamp program is a federally funded program. It provides food assistance to families with no or little income. The program allows the qualified to buy nutritious food using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. 

You can use this benefit program to buy fruits, vegetables, non-alcoholic beverages, bread, cereals, etc. To apply for SNAP, visit https://yourtexasbenefits.hhsc.texas.gov/apply/how-to-apply

Final Words

The Texas Workforce Commission is trying its best to provide additional unemployment benefits to the needy on time. It is even considering setting up a separate, new program to direct the payment to qualified unemployed since this relief measure isn’t considered as an unemployment benefit, but a FEMA relief program.

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