Back on August 8, President Donald Trump issued an executive order authorizing governors to provide an additional $400 per week in federal unemployment funds The federal government would provide $300 for eligible claimants, while states would be required to chip in $100.

The measure was intended to continue helping those out of work due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic after the $600 in federal benefits expired at the end of July.

On Thursday, August 20, Gov. Greg Abbott formally announced that the Texas Workforce Commission has applied for the federal benefits available through Trump's executive order.

"The Lost Wage Assistance program will provide crucial financial support to Texans who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic," Governor Abbott said. "Texas is grateful to President Trump for making these funds available to individuals and asks that our federal partners quickly grant this request so that TWC can swiftly administer this funding to Texans."

It's not entirely clear if the additional funds provided to Texas claimants will total $300 or $400.

According to the governor's office, if you are already receiving unemployment funds through the TWC, you can continue to request payments as usual. Eligible claimants can expect to see the additional benefits on their first payment request on or after August 23, which will be backdated to the benefit week ending August 1.

These benefits have been a lifeline for Texans who've found themselves out of work as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put a strain on businesses, particularly locally owned businesses. While the benefit amount has gone down, I hope it's at least enough to keep Texas families afloat as they search for work or wait for their employer to give them the all-clear to return.

There's always been a certain stigma surrounding unemployment benefits, but especially in times like these I think it's vital to support people who want to be working, but can't due to circumstances beyond their control.

Texas has made miracle recoveries in the past due to the hard work, diligence, and fighting spirit of her people, and I predict it will happen again if we do everything we can to slow this virus down and get people back to doing the work they love.

If you need to apply for unemployment or request payment, please visit twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services. If you're already receiving funds, be sure that your mailing address and email are up to date here.

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