State & Local COVID-19 Updates & Information for Individuals
Each of the tabs below contain updates related to COVID-19 and unemployment benefits. Click the tab to read important information and access resources. The date the tab was updated is provided for your reference. Still need help? Chat with a live agent by clicking the “Chat with us” icon in the bottom right corner of your screen. Or use the contact information on this page to get in touch with our staff.
WORK SEARCH REQUIREMENTS RESUME - Added 6.17.20
On June 16, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announced it will reinstate work search requirements beginning July 6. Texans receiving Unemployment Benefits will need to complete a maximum of 3 work searches per week prior to requesting payment on the week beginning July 19, 2020. Read about all of TWC’s Work Search Guidelines here.
Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas can help you with your work search needs and get you back to work:
- Register for one of our Virtual Job Fairs, which feature 3-5 employers and are held every Thursday at 2 pm.
- Get one-on-one help with registering for or updating your WorkinTexas.com account by calling us at 254-296-5260, emailing us at [email protected], chatting with a live agent online, or submitting our online Contact Request Form.
- Check out our Jobs Now page and view job descriptions and apply for current job openings.
Beginning July 6, eligibility for unemployment benefits requires recipients to:
- Register for work search.
- Search for work. We list guidelines for acceptable work search activities below.
- Make at least your minimum number of work search activities each week.
- Keep good, verifiable records of those activities on a work search log.
- Provide your work search log to TWC upon request. We may request any week’s work search log at any time during your benefit year.
Read about all of TWC’s Work Search Guidelines here.
Acceptable Work Search Activities
Acceptable work search activities to meet your unemployment benefits requirements may include, but are not limited to:
- Attend job fairs such as Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas Virtual Job Fairs.
- Register as a job seeker on WorkInTexas.com or at a public workforce office in your state of residence.
- Find and follow up on job contacts from WorkInTexas.com.
- Register for work with a private employment agency, or placement facility of a school or college or university, if one is available to you in his or her occupation or profession. This is an acceptable work search activity; however, you still need to register as a job seeker on WorkInTexas.com or at a public workforce office in your state of residence.
- Complete a job application with employers who may reasonably be expected to have openings for suitable work. You may submit the job application in person, online, by fax or in any other manner directed by the employer and appropriate for the type of work you seek.
- Mail a job application and/or résumé as instructed by a public job notice.
- Make in-person visits with employers that may reasonably be expected to have openings for suitable work.
- Interview with potential employers in person, by telephone or in any other manner directed by the employer and appropriate for the type of work you seek.
- Use the reemployment resources available at a Workforce Solutions office that may lead directly to obtaining employment.
- Use Career Tools on WorkInTexas.com that offer instruction and assistance in improving your ability to become reemployed.
Read about all of TWC’s Work Search Guidelines here.
Work Search Requirements Videos
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS - Updated 5.11.20
If the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your employment, you can apply for unemployment benefits through the Texas Unemployment Insurance (UI) program. This program pays benefits to those individuals who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) determines benefit eligibility based on past wages, why someone lost their job and ongoing eligibility requirements.
Although the US government and Texas legislature have not changed any laws or rules concerning unemployment benefits during the pandemic, the Department of Labor guidance provides that federal law permits significant flexibility for states to provide Unemployment Insurance (UI) services related to COVID-19. Based on this, TWC stated it will waive work search requirements for all claimants and the waiting week for those claimants affected by COVID-19.
The following are the various ways you can apply for benefits:
- Online: The fastest way to obtain unemployment information and apply for benefits is online via the TWC website at ui.texasworkforce.org, which is available 24/7. Having issues applying online? TWC recommends trying the online portal between 10 pm and 8 am when volume is lower. Try back during those hours to apply for benefits, check the status of your claim, or request benefit payment.
- Call: If you don’t have access to a computer or phone with Internet, you can call the TWC Unemployment Benefits Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 Monday through Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm. Wait times may be longer than usual due to the increased demand for assistance.
- Additional Help: Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas staff, services and resources are still available to you by phone, chat, email and online. Please call us at 254-296-5260 or 254-296-5312, email us at [email protected] or chat with us online between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday.
Additional Unemployment Benefits Resources
- How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits (PDF)
- Unemployment Eligibility Scenarios for Job Seekers (Word Doc)
- UI Handout Claimants (PDF)
- Mass UI Claim – Next Steps (PDF)
- Unemployment Benefit Claim Help & Resources (PDF)
Return to Work Guidance from TWC (added 5.11.20)
Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has issued guidance to unemployment claimants concerning their continued eligibility for unemployment benefits (UI) should they refuse rehire.
Each UI benefits case is currently evaluated on an individual basis. However, because of the COVID-19 emergency, the following are reasons benefits would be granted if the individual refused suitable work.
Reason for refusal:
- At High Risk – People 65 years or older are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 (Source DSHS website).
- Household member at high risk – People 65 years or older are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 (source DSHS website).
- Diagnosed with COVID – the individual has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered.
- Family member with COVID – anybody in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered and 14 days have not yet passed.
- Quarantined – individual is currently in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19.
- Child care – Child’s school or daycare closed and no alternatives are available.
Any other situation will be subject to a case by case review by the Texas Workforce Commission based on individual circumstances.
HOW TO REGISTER FOR WORK
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RESOURCES - Added 4.28.20
The United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division remain committed to ensuring labor and standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. To contact the Wage and Hour Division confidentially, call the toll-free help line at 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243). Questions can be emailed to [email protected]
- Click here to access information regarding third party complaints.
- Click here to access information regarding COVID-19 and Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
- Access to the recorded FFCRA webinar training can be found at: Webinar: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
- How to File a Complaint (PDF)
- Fair Labor Standards Act Digital Reference Guide (PDF)
ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS- Updated 4.13.20
For most taxpayers, payments are automatic, and no further action is needed. No further action is needed if you:
- have already filed your tax returns this year for 2019. The IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount.
- haven’t filed yet for 2019 but filed a 2018 federal tax return. For these taxpayers the IRS will use their information from 2018 tax filings to make the Economic Impact Payment calculations.
The IRS provided the below infographics with additional information to help you. Click to view.
VETERANS ASSISTANCE - Updated 3.31.20
Veterans Assistance in the Heart of Texas Region
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has provided a list of resources for employment, mental health, food assistance, financial, utility and housing. Click here for the list of resources.
RESOURCES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH A DISABILITY - Updated 4.2.20
Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS) provides a variety of Vocational Rehabilitation services that assist eligible individuals with a disability in preparing for, obtaining, retaining or advancing in competitive integrated employment. You may be eligible for services, depending upon how your disability interferes with work.
For information regarding services and to request a phone-based appointment with a TWS-VRS counselor, please call 866-982-9226 and press option 6. For additional information, please click here to visit the Texas Workforce Solutions – Vocational Rehabilitation Services web page.
Many Internet and mobile service providers are offering free Internet via public access to Wifi hotspots to help individuals, students, businesses and communities during this time including:
- Spectrum Mobile
- Waco Public Library and Waco Convention Center’s Wifi service is free to the public. Wifi can be accessed in parking lots near the buildings at all four Waco-McLennan County Library locations (East, South, West and Central) from 7 am to 11 pm and 24/7 at the Convention Center. Click here for more information.
TWC Resources for JobSeekers
TWC’s Resources for JobSeekers web page lists helpful information about unemployment benefits, next steps after applying for unemployment, child care and early learning information, links to news and updates, and an option to subscribe to updates.
TWC also provides the following Unemployment Benefits resources and information:
- TWC waives certain requirements for unemployment benefits
- Unemployment Benefits Handbook
- Eligibility & Benefit Amounts
- Unemployment Benefits Electronic Correspondence
- View Claim & Payment Status
- Request Benefit Payments
- Unemployment Benefits Fraud
Fraudulent COVID-19 Test Kit Warning
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers about unauthorized fraudulent test kits that are being marketed to test for COVID-19 in the home. The FDA has not authorized any test that is available to purchase for testing at home for COVID-19. Click here to read the full announcement.