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Congresswoman Escobar Releases Unemployment Assistance Report and Calls on Governor Abbott to Improve Texas Workforce Commission

El Paso, TX, July 10, 2020
Congresswoman Escobar released a report with the results of an online survey on the TWC. The online survey asked El Pasoans that have been terminated, laid off, furloughed, or otherwise separated from their employer due to the coronavirus pandemic to rate their experience with the TWC unemployment application process and to provide feedback on any problems they encountered.

Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) released a report with the results of an online survey on the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

The online survey asked El Pasoans that have been terminated, laid off, furloughed, or otherwise separated from their employer due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to rate their experience with the TWC unemployment application process and to provide feedback on any problems they encountered. Five-hundred and ninety-one El Pasoans responded to the survey.

In response to the findings, Congresswoman Escobar sent a detailed letter describing the survey results to Texas Governor Greg Abbott calling for an aggressive improvement plan for the TWC so that Texans can access the financial help they need during this pandemic.

“In Congress, I took action to ensure El Pasoans who lost their jobs or were furloughed because of the unprecedented health and economic crisis would have access to unemployment benefits to pay their rent or mortgage, utilities and groceries, medicines, and other necessities,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “These survey results are deeply alarming and expose TWC’s inability to provide answers and reassurance during these challenging times. Texans deserve to have an agency that meets their needs and I am calling on Governor Abbott to put forward an aggressive improvement plan so El Pasoans can get the help they need and deserve during this pandemic.”

Findings of the survey include:

  • 51.5% of respondents rated their experience with TWC as either “very unsatisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”
  • 54.9% of respondents have not yet received unemployment assistance, either due to problems with the application or delays in receiving benefits.
  • 46% of respondents reported having to call or use the online portal more than 10 times to receive the answers they were looking for.
  • 40.3% of respondents said it took a few weeks after the completion of their application to receive a check, while an additional 39.4% said it took more than a month.
  • 1.4% of respondents said they encountered no problems during the application process, while 29.1% of respondents reported two or more significant roadblocks in applying for and receiving unemployment assistance.
The report is available here and the letter Congresswoman Escobar sent to Governor Abbott is available here.

Signed into law on March 27, the CARES Act provides additional relief for unemployed El Pasoans, including an additional 13 weeks of assistance, expanded eligibility for self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers, and an additional $600 weekly Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit. However, it has been reported that many Texans have been denied benefits and cannot get assistance from the TWC, who is tasked with overseeing unemployment insurance matters.

On April 3, Congresswoman Escobar and members of the Texas Democratic Congressional delegation urged Governor Greg Abbott to provide the necessary funding to invest more resources and capacity into the TWC. Their letter is available here.

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