Texas Workforce Commission pays $20 million in benefits to self-employed Texans, freelancers


The Texas Workforce Commission paid out over $20 million in benefits Thursday to those who are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The federal program allows people who are self-employed, freelancers or seeking part-time employment to be eligible for benefits.

This week, the commission converted 145,000 unemployment claims to the PUA program, comprising about 40% of the more than 365,000 new claims this week, commission spokesman Cisco Gamez said at a media briefing Friday.

Workers eligible for PUA must submit their 2019 tax forms to the commission by Dec. 26. Those who qualify will receive the minimum state benefits of $207 a week, plus an additional $600 a week from the federal government.

Once the tax forms are received, the Texas Workforce Commission verifies past wages, and workers might become eligible for more weekly benefits, which can be backdated, Gamez said.