Here’s why your boss might help speed up your COVID-19 unemployment claim

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Craig Blanchard has to be an expert when it comes to lining most things up correctly. He owns a local an A/V company and has three contractors.

Blanchard’s quick thinking helped get those contractors money from the Texas Workforce Commission amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“A lot of it, I feel, has to do with the boss,” Blanchard said.

Blanchard notes that it may just be as simple as filling out paperwork correctly so employees are paid faster. He helped his contractors get $1,400 each from the TWC.

“I made a letterhead that they worked for me this long and this is what they made,” he said.

A couple days later, the direct deposit cleared for his contractors.

TWC spokesman Cisco Gamez said an employer sending information “might” speed up the process, but emphasized that self-employed workers, independent contractors and gig workers do not have to submit proof of income if their net profit was less than $21,000 in 2019.

“You will continue to receive the $207 minimum Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) weekly benefit amount (WBA) if your net profit for 2019 was less than $21,000,” he said. “Providing your income tax return is optional and will not affect your weekly benefit amount if your net profit was less.”

In this scenario, if you made more than $21,000 net profit in 2019, your unemployment benefit amount is recalculated.

During Wednesday’s media briefing, Gamez said the agency has paid out $858 million to 494,000 Texans so far this week.

And, as people return to work on Friday, he noted that reduced hours will be taken into consideration.

“Persons returning to work with reduced hours may still qualify for unemployment, this will vary on a case-by-case basis,” Gamez said.

Overall, more than 1.9 million Texans have filed for unemployment.

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