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Unemployment benefit program ends this week

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The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC, program is part of the CARES Act that provides an additional $600 in benefit payments to qualifying individuals, but the last week that program will be available under the Texas Workforce Commission’s contract with the U.S. Department of Labor is this week, ending on Saturday, July 25.

The other parts of the CARES Act, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, will be available until the week ending Dec. 26, the workforce commission said in a news release earlier this month.

PUA allows self-employed to be eligible for unemployment up to 39 weeks, and the emergency unemployment compensation program provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment.

Regular unemployment insurance does not have an expiration date and can provide for up to 26 weeks of unemployment during an individual’s benefit year.

FPUC was authorized by federal law in the CARES Act. While TWC is responsible for overseeing the program payments, only the U.S. Congress can extend or make changes to FPUC.

The workforce commission said the expiration date for the program was set by federal law and cannot be appealed, waived or modified by the state.

Payment requests are made every two weeks.

Individuals who are eligible for benefits and request payment for the weeks of July 18 and July 25 will receive the additional $600 for both weeks. Those who are eligible for benefits and request payment for the weeks of July 25 and Aug. 1 will receive the additional $600 for the week of July 25 only, officials said.

For people that were eligible to receive FPUC for all 17 weeks, the amount of benefits paid adds up to approximately $10,200.

While the state has triggered additional benefits, including an additional 13 weeks of benefits through State Extended Benefits and an additional seven weeks of benefits through High Unemployment Period, a person on regular unemployment benefits could potentially receive up to 59 weeks of benefits.

Unemployment benefits are not intended to replace work but are intended to help Texans during a period of transition and need, the TWC said. It said in the release that the commission will continue to look for opportunities to help Texans.

For more information on unemployment insurance services, please visit twc.texas.gov.