Federal unemployment benefits for Texans without jobs set to end soon

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 8:55 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Federal unemployment benefits in Texas are set to lapse a week from Saturday.

Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott, as well as governors in several other states, opted out of the programs about three months earlier than they were set to expire.

That means that jobless Texans will no longer receive an extra $300 per week from the federal government.

Also on June 26, jobless Texans will no longer be able to turn down job offers and collect unemployment benefits due to health fears amid the pandemic.

The impending elimination of benefits led many to the Heart of Texas Hiring Fair at the Waco Convention Center this afternoon.

“When the governor made that announcement that benefits would end on the 26th, we thought this would be a prime opportunity to bring those job seekers in front of employers,” Jennifer Branch, the director of existing industries & workforce development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, told KWTX.

Destiny Smith, a jobseeker at the fair, had a job up until a couple of weeks ago, when she quit.

“I wasn’t making enough money; COVID hit, and I was behind on bills and stuff,” she said.

She said she wanted to use the fair to reach out in person to employers she had previously been emailing.

“Once I seen all the big jobs that I’ve already been looking into and I’ve already been waiting two weeks for, and I saw they’d be out here, I was like, ‘Yes!’” Smith said.

Others at the fair like Alize Lopez already have a job.

She works as a medical technician at an assisted living home.

“I was excited to start the job because I was going to get my certification for a pharmacy,” Lopez said.

However, she said her employer shifted her onto laundry duty, and that is when she decided to look for other roles.

She said she was encouraged by the large number of positions open.

“You go on Now Hiring and say, ‘Who’s hiring?’ and it’s literally everyone,” she said.

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