Extend Texas Unemployment

As the country continues to reel from the ravages of the recession, millions of Americans continue their struggle to find work. Unfortunately, too many politicians and policymakers are promoting a new age of austerity, which will only deepen the economic problems the country is facing. The national unemployment rate is currently over 9%. Although Texas’ unemployment rate is slightly lower than the national rate, it still amounts to thousands of Texans who are out of work and living on their unemployment benefits. Thousands more have exhausted their unemployment benefits and are barely surviving. It is essential that the federal and state governments implement a plan of extended unemployment.

According to Texas law, if a person is laid off, fired without cause, or quit due to a work related or a medical reason, they are eligible for unemployment. The first step is to either apply by phone at a Texas Workforce Telecenter, or apply for benefits using the Internet. Claimants will need to provide basic information such as their name, address, phone number, and social security number. In order to prove their eligibility for unemployment, they will have to provide their previous employer’s information, the reason they are no longer working, their start and end dates, the number of hours worked, and their pay rate.

In order to collect benefits in Texas, the claimant must then register for work and search for full-time work every week. Claimants then choose their payment method. They can choose between direct deposit at their bank or a TWC Visa debit card. Benefit amounts range between $60-415 and are based upon the claimant’s earnings in the four quarters preceding their unemployment. As of now, those who prove their unemployment eligibility in Texas and file a claim before December 31, 2011 can qualify for up to 67 weeks on unemployment benefits.

Despite this, many Texans have been unemployed for over two years. Long-term unemployment is at its highest levels since the Great Depression and there seems to be little political will to address it. It is imperative that unemployment benefits are extended for those who are suffering and trying to become gainfully employed.

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