AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas Workforce Commission is reviewing President Donald Trump’s executive orders relating to unemployment benefits, as states will be on the hook for a portion of updated unemployment benefits.
The President extended federal unemployment benefits, which expired near the end of July, though his $400 payment is only two-thirds of the $600 supplemental federal unemployment benefit Americans had been receiving.
The higher payments expired when Congress did not reach a deal amid negotiations for a new COVID-19 relief package.
Per the President’s order, states will burden the cost of 25% of the new $400 payment.
“We’re currently reviewing the presidential memoranda and will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available,” Texas Workforce Commission Spokesperson Cisco Gamez said Monday.
Gamez did not have information on the source of that state funding, the state’s ability to provide it, when it would be paid out, or whether Texans would get the money retroactively back to when the previous benefits expired.
“I’m sure people are are wondering how quick this can be implemented,” Gamez said. “We are working as quick as we can to make that happen and we will do so as soon as we can.”
Semi-retired teacher Bill McCormack and his wife, a full-time teacher both lost their jobs during the pandemic. The Richardson residents’ attempts to reach a TWC representative have been fruitless.
“I have yet to be able to talk to a live person,” McCormack said, after five months of trying.
Upon learning of the President’s plan, McCormack said he was not optimistic the state would be able to deliver the money Trump promised.
“The state’s having enough trouble right now getting people’s benefits approved,” he said.
Since the week ending March 14, Texas has paid out over $24 billion in benefits using state and federal money. TWC has received more than 4.3 million claims in that time, which adds up to over six years worth of claims in just a five month period, Gamez said.
Trump’s executive orders are expected to face legal challenges, because the programs he’s moving to continue require federal funding— controlled by Congress in the legislative branch, and not by the executive branch.
Texans seeking unemployment benefits can find additional information on the TWC website.
Haley Cihock and Andy Davis contributed to this report.