1.3 million Texans have filed for unemployment, but week-to-week claims dropping

Coronavirus

(KXAN Photo/Jody Barr)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – More than 1.3 million Texans have filed for unemployment insurance in the past 33 days, and the Texas Workforce Commission has distributed more than $500 million in benefits to 387,000 claimants this week, an agency spokesman said Friday.

“That is two years of claims in just 33 days,” said TWC spokesman Cisco Gamez. “Everyone that qualifies for unemployment insurance will received them, and not just from the date they applied. We are going to backdate those benefits as far back as March 8.”

While the total numbers of Texans filing for unemployment has surged to unprecedented levels since the COVID-19 crisis began in March, the number of week-to-week claims dipped recently.

The U.S. Department of Labor released national numbers Thursday, and Texas unemployment claims went down, Gamez said. There were 315,000 claims made the week ending April 4; the next week ending April 11 saw 273,000 claims, he said.

“There seems to be a trend where those numbers are going down,” Gamez said.

TWC began distributing an additional $600 per week in benefits on April 13, as part of the federal CARES act.

Gamez said and the agency’s call centers are open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. TWC is expanding its call centers as well. A sixth will be fully operational Monday, staff at a seventh location is being trained and an eight location is expected to open soon.

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