What’s the latest on child care benefits for Texas essential workers and low-income families?

Investigations

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR PRIMROSE SCHOOLS – Teacher Penelope Alarcon pushes two students on a swing set at Primrose School of Midland at Westridge, a new employer-sponsored school located near the offices of four oil companies that collaborated to create greater access to child care on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 in Midland, Texas. (Brad Tollefson/AP Images for Primrose Schools)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Phase 2 expansion of reopening businesses Monday included child care facilities.

With Gov. Abbott’s new announcements, the Texas Workforce Commission has a new update on child care benefits for essential workers and low-income families. Since March, essential workers have been able to get three months of subsidized child care, but now that’s being phased out.

TWC spokesman Cisco Gamez noted Wednesday that these workers will still get child care for the three months from when they were approved. Moreover, essential workers can still apply for TWC’s regular, subsidized child care program if they’re eligible.

Also, on June 1, low-income parents will have to start paying a portion of their child care costs if they receive financial assistance. This requirement was initially waived April 1.

“This plan, from the beginning, was a temporary measure, while child care centers were closed or had limited enrollment for essential workers only,” Gamez said.

Costs may still be waived, though, if parents are unable to pay.

And, despite child care facilities reopening, those who use lack of child care as a reason to refuse work may still be able to receive unemployment benefits.

“With child care facilities now allowed to open, we would continue to take claimants at their word,” he said, also noting that would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Overall, more than 2.6 million Texans have filed for unemployment and more than $6.4 billion has been paid out in benefits.

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