Abilene, Texas — The Texas Workforce Commission has waived the waiting period and work search requirements for individuals applying to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits in an effort to address the economic and workforce impact of COVID-19. Normally, the first week of an unemployment claim is considered not payable until an individual has received twice their weekly benefit amount and either returned to full-time work or exhausted their benefits. Applicants are also typically required to meet a minimum number of work search activities per week. These waivers provide relief to Texans impacted by job loss, closures, and reduced work hours, allowing individuals to receive unemployment benefits faster. If an individual has been laid off or experienced a reduction in work hours, they should apply online for unemployment benefits with the Texas Workforce Commission.

 Employers suffering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus are encouraged to enroll in the Shared Work program as an alternative to layoffs. Shared Work is designed to help employers withstand a slowdown in business by supplementing their employees lost wages due to reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits. Employers can apply through the Texas Workforce Commission’s Employer Benefit Services (EBS) portal online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 Local Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas offices are working diligently to continue serving customers while protecting the health and safety of individuals and the community. Locations in Abilene, Snyder, and Sweetwater are offering customers in-person services on a limited basis and by appointment only. Assistance can also be provided remotely via phone or website. The Brownwood location is delivering remote services only at this time. Customers should call (325) 795-4200 or visit www.workforcesystem.org for assistance. Staff are also available to answer questions and support employers with assistance related to closures, layoffs, and reduced business hours.

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