The Department of Labor has issued guidelines to assist the Texas Workforce Commission in the implementation of the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020.

Payments under this legislation are authorized for the payment week ending Jan. 2, 2021. The act will provide up to 11 additional benefit weeks to Texans on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

CAA extends the unemployment benefits claim programs created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Key provisions of the act include:

The Dec 26, 2020 deadline for expiration of CARES Act benefits has been extended to March 13, 2021.

The legislation includes an extra $300 per week for eligible claimants who are unemployed and receiving benefits during the covered weeks.

TWC will automatically enroll all Texans who are eligible for benefits under the act. There is no need for people to call or reapply. For individuals unable to request payment due to having exhausted their claims in advance of the previous December 26 deadline, TWC will send them updated information.

A summary of programs under the act:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Now available through March 13, 2021, or for up to 50 total weeks of eligibility, whichever comes first. Additional documentation of eligibility may be required beginning in January. As the TWC receives DOL guidance, it will provide additional information.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation: Now available through March 13, 2021, or for up to 24 total weeks of eligibility, whichever comes first. Claimants currently receiving benefits through the Extended Benefits program must finish all 13 weeks of EB before receiving additional weeks of PEUC.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation: These were the original federal supplemental payments under the CARES Act. They will resume with $300 weekly payments for up to an additional 11 weeks. To receive FPUC benefits, you must be receiving UI, PEUC, EB, Trade Readjustment Allowance, Disaster Unemployment, or PUA. FPUC benefits will not be paid from July 27 to Dec. 26, 2020, per federal guidelines. FPUC eligibility will begin on Dec. 27, 2020 with the first payments set for the week ending Jan. 2.

The legislation does not impact work search requirements. Most Texans will still be required to conduct work searches. The list of searches by county can be found online at www.twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/required-number-work-search-activities-county.

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