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Austin Severance and Unemployment Update

Here is an Austin severance and unemployment update with critical things you need to know. This is a rapidly changing situation. This information is up-to-date as of March 23, 2020.

I was laid-off. Should I apply for unemployment?

Yes, as soon as possible. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has waived the usual waiting week and search requirements. This means as soon as you are approved, you will begin to receive your unemployment benefits, and you do not have to immediately begin to look for a new job.

I was furloughed or had my hours reduced, should I apply for unemployment?

Yes. Individuals working reduced hours may generally be eligible to receive Texas unemployment.

I can’t get through to TWC, should I give up?

No. Many people are reporting long wait times on the website and phones while trying to apply for unemployment benefits. This is likely due to the unprecedented volume of applicants right now. Keep trying. The sooner you apply, the sooner you may receive benefits.

I made $50k+ per year. Will unemployment benefits fully cover me?

Not even close. Weekly benefits range from from $69 to $521 per week. That means you can get a maximum of only a little more than $2,000 a month, or around $27,000 per year. And after 52 weeks, absent federal action on COVID-19, your benefits will expire entirely. That said, there is little downside to applying for and receiving unemployment benefits.

I received a severance package. Can I collect that money and unemployment benefits at the same time?

Call a Texas severance agreement lawyer, ideally before you sign the severance. Oftentimes employers and employees both want this for the departing workers, but TWC is a separate entity that is subject to its own rules and regulations and makes its own decisions on unemployment eligibility. The answer is there are ways to structure severances so that employees may collect the severance payment and unemployment insurance benefits payments at the same time, but we suggest a legal consultation regarding these issues.

*Nothing in this blog post is, should be considered, or should be substituted for legal advice. If you need legal assistance, consult with a lawyer.