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How to file for unemployment in Texas if your job is affected by coronavirus

If the COVID-19 outbreak has changed your employment situation, here's how you can file to receive benefits in the meantime.

HOUSTON — With the stock market reaching a three-year low and multiple industries impacted by the COVID-19 precautions and closures, many are concerned about their jobs and the economy.

Some people are turning for help amid the coronavirus shutdowns. Many of those affected work in the service industry.

Stimulus package is in the works

The Associated Press reports the White House is proposing a multi-billion dollar emergency stimulus to address the economic cost of the new coronavirus. It reportedly will aim to provide relief for small businesses and the airline industry and include a massive tax cut for wage-earners as well as the possibility of payments to individuals.

Texas waives usual 10-day waiting period before filing

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott waived the 10-day waiting period that is usually tied to unemployment benefits.

The Texas Workforce Commission's website now has a section on its website dedicated to the COVID-19 response:

'If your employment has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), apply for benefits either online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling TWC’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Central Time Mondays through Fridays.

TWC may experience an increase in call volumes and hold times on our Tele-Center phone lines. You are encouraged to use our online claim portal, Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS ), to handle your claim needs quickly. UBS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We also encourage you to sign up for Electronic Correspondence so you can receive your TWC communications online as soon as possible.

TWC will investigate why you lost your job and mail a decision explaining whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits.

So who is eligible, and how do you go about applying?

All Workforce Solutions Career office are closed to the public and will remain so indefinitely, officials with local workforce development agency announced today.

“The temporary suspension of public access to our career offices is being done to align with recommendations for small group gatherings and safe social distancing practices,” said Mike Temple, Director of Workforce Solutions. “We have decided to take this step to protect the health of both our customers and career office staff. All staff will continue to work normal hours and we will maintain continuity of service through phone and email.”

Workforce Solutions operates 27 full-time and 10 part-time career office locations across its 13-county operating region. Extra staff will be available at the career offices to respond to phone and email requests.

HOW TO CONNECT:

  • Visit www.wrksolutions.com/locations to find your nearest career office. The listed phone will be answered by a live person during regular business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.
  • Use our toll-free number to connect to your nearest career office – 1-888-469-JOBS (5627), enter your ZIP Code and the call will route to the local office.

JOB SEARCH ASSISTANCE

  • www.workintexas.com is available 24/7 to continue your job search. Anyone unfamiliar with the online job search portal can call us and we will walk customers through the set-up process.

FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT QUESTIONS, OR TO APPLY, PLEASE CONTACT THE TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION:

  • Visit www.ui.texasworkforce.org to apply online
  • Call 1-800-939-6631 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday - Friday
  • Note: TWC Teleservice is currently experience high call volumes and hold times

TWC requires the following to file for unemployment:

  • Last employer's business name and address
  • First and last dates (month, day and year) you worked for your last employer
  • Number of hours worked and pay rate if you worked this week (including Sunday)
  • Information related to your normal wage
  • Alien Registration Number (if not a U.S. citizen or national)

To qualify for unemployment benefits you must have worked for the past 12 months and have at least a minimum amount of wages required by their guidelines.

If you are going to be applying for unemployment TWC said you’ll need information like social security number, dates you worked for your last employer, number of hours worked and pay rate.

Once you’ve submitted your application there are a few things to qualify.

They include continuing to look for work and keeping track of where you've applied.

TWC said it takes approximately four weeks from the date you apply for benefits to know if you are eligible.

Castrow said Workforce Solutions is doing what it can to ensure its doors remain open for those who need them.

“There is a good distance between the individuals while they’re using computers. Our staff is wiping down the computers, disinfecting them periodically throughout the day,” Castrow said.

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Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.