TWC crosses $5 billion in COVID-19 unemployment payments, Austin woman awaits her benefits

Investigations

A certified medical assistant places a swab into a vile for one of the first 50 people tested for coronavirus at Flint’s first drive-thru testing site, Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at Atwood Stadium in Flint, Mich. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Ginger Sauber is dealing with a multitude of emotions.

The 62-year-old is frustrated by the Texas Workforce Commission and has just $200 in her checking account.

“If June 1 comes around and nothing comes through, I won’t have the money for rent,” she said.

Another thought crosses her mind: “Do I want to take retirement early?”

Sauber was only three weeks into her new job as a medical assistant at a local clinic before she was let go April 7.

She applied for unemployment the same day, but has yet to receive payment.

Overall, more than 2.4 million Texans have filed for unemployment and more than $5.2 billion has been paid out in benefits.

TWC spokesman Cisco Gamez notes that there are several factors into whether a claim is eligible, including the employer’s response and why someone lost their job (if it wasn’t COVID-19 related).

“I would encourage the person to continue to request payments every two weeks so that if they become eligible, it would help speed up the process for payments,” Gamez said.

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