You may be able to collect more in unemployment benefits

HOUSTON – If you collected unemployment benefits that ran out within the last few months, check your email. You may be eligible for more. You should receive an email message letting you know you should request another payment.

Congress approved the funding in December, but it has taken the Texas Workforce Commission time to let people know it is available.

“They will get a message that says, ‘You’re back in the system. You can begin requesting payments again,’” explained TWC’s James Bernsen.

Some people are already receiving the benefits. Those eligible will receive whatever the state aid is plus an extra $300 from the federal government. The payments will last through March 14. The key thing you need to do is request your payment every two weeks.

“When people stop requesting payments, they’re essentially telling us ‘I don’t need payments. I have a job or don’t need payments anymore,’” said Bernsen.

When you do get the message letting you know to begin requesting payments again, Bernsen said that your benefits will be backdated to the last week of December.

What’s new this time

This time around, you are required to submit additional paperwork to prove you are unemployed (Example: paycheck stubs, W2s). If you were self-employed, but applying for benefits, you will be asked to show proof like a business license, tax return or business receipts.

If you don’t get a message, Bernsen is asking that you not call the Texas Workforce Commission. He says phone lines are still slammed. If you have a simple inquiry you should use the chatbot on the TWC website to ask questions. You should get a quicker response.