AUSTIN, Texas — A federal program providing additional funds to people who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus ends this week.
Since the beginning of April, the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensations (FPUC) plan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided an additional $600 on top of state unemployment compensation to workers who qualify for unemployment benefits.
The program expires July 31, however, due to the payment structure in Texas, benefits will expire after this Saturday, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
“The reason FPUC does not end on July 31 is because that is a Friday, and by law, the TWC cannot pay partial week benefits. A full benefit week begins Sunday and ends on Saturday. The last Saturday of the month is July 25,” said Cisco Games, the media and public relations specialist with the TWC.
While the TWC is responsible for overseeing the payments, it was a program passed at the federal level, so state leaders cannot extend it. The U.S. Congress would need to make that decision.
The program helps cover most individuals who have exhausted all their options for regular unemployment compensation under state or federal law and are actively looking or who cannot work due to illness or quarantine, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Since the program began, the TWC paid $13.8 billion in FPUC benefits so far.
However, even after the program ends, those who qualify for unemployment benefits through the state will still receive those, Games said. This includes anyone qualified for retroactive payments of the $600 between March 29 and July 25.