Gov. Abbott Announces Halt On Federal Unemployment Benefits To Texans

Montgomery County Gazette

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Gov. Greg Abbott during a press conference regarding vaccine delivery in Texas.Office of Governor Greg Abbott

By: Jessica Shorten

AUSTIN – Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday morning he opted the State of Texas out of future federal unemployment monies effective June 26, 2021; including the weekly $300 supplement to unemployment benefits.

According to the Governor’s Office, the move is an effort to drop unemployment numbers and move Texans back into the workplace.

“The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities throughout the state,” said Governor Abbott. “According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment benefits. That assessment does not include the voluminous jobs that typically are not listed, like construction and restaurant jobs. In fact, there are nearly 60 percent more jobs open (and listed) in Texas today than there was in February 2020, the month before the Pandemic hit Texas.”

The $300 supplemental boost from the Federal government came from the American Rescue Plan, and was set to last through September, 2021. With the boost, individuals on unemployment received around $600 a week in unemployment.

“At this stage of opening the state 100 percent, the focus must be on helping unemployed Texans connect with the more than a million job openings, rather than paying unemployment benefits to remain off the employment rolls,” according to Abbott.

Abbott also claimed the move was due to an uptick in fraudulent unemployment claims.

“[Texas Workforce Commission] estimates that nearly 18 percent of all claims for unemployment benefits during the pandemic are confirmed or suspected to be fraudulent, which totals more than 800,000 claims, worth as much as $10.4 billion, if all claims had been paid.”

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