On March 27, 2020, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) received more claims than they did in the entire month of February as a result of COVID-19. The previous daily record was 60,000.
Individuals seeking to file unemployment claims are asked to first begin their claim process through the unemployment benefit services online portal. To assist in answering common questions about the unemployment insurance (UI) process, the TWC launched a virtual assistant named “Larry the Chat Bot.” The program is expected to provide relief to the TWC’s call centers. Using its artificial intelligence matrix, “Larry” will learn more questions and more ways to assist Texans over time.
Per Governor Abbott’s instructions, the TWC has waived the waiting week for Unemployment Benefits. Under normal circumstances, the first week of a claim would not be paid by TWC until an individual receives two times their weekly benefit amount and returns to work full-time or has exhausted their benefits. This measure seeks to provide immediate relief to Texans who need it.
Additionally, the TWC has waived the UI search requirements. To be eligible previously, individual applicants were required to register for work search on www.WorkinTexas.com and meet weekly minimum work search activities. The TWC is temporarily waiving this requirement to ensure Texans have access to urgently needed resources.
For employers facing temporary or permanent layoffs, TWC’s Mass Claims program streamlines the unemployment benefit claims process. By submitting basic information, employers can initiate claims on behalf of their employees prior to the layoff, which will ensure employees receive their benefits as quickly as possible.
Employers who have not yet laid off employees can log on to Employer Benefits Services to submit their Mass Claim Request.
Businesses that have already initiated layoffs for 10 or more employees cannot use Employer Benefit Services to submit a claim. If the layoff date has already passed, the employer must fill out the Mass Claims document manually by completing the Mass Claims Spreadsheet and Agreement Letter. Completed documents need to be emailed to the Mass Claims Coordinator at email@example.com along with following information:
All Resources made available by the TWC for both employers and job seekers can be reviewed at twc.texas.gov.
For more information about recommended steps, please contact your Foley relationship partner. For additional web-based resources available to assist you in monitoring the spread of the coronavirus on a global basis, you may wish to visit the CDC and the World Health Organization.
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