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By Clarissa Camarillo, BBA

Director, Human Resources

If you are part of the 22 million Americans who have lost their job, been laid off or furloughed during the Coronavirus pandemic, we have some helpful information to share with you. 

Many jobless Americans qualify for part of the $2.2 billion dollar relief package which includes unemployment funds. Each state has its own guidelines to follow for unemployment claims.  There are only three states who are currently administering pandemic claims and Texas is one of those.  The amount of payout you receive is based on how much you earned while last employed.  You must also be actively searching for work to receive payments from unemployment claims.  Amazon, HEB, Rackspace Whataburger, and local hospitals are some of the bigger companies hiring right now in San Antonio.

To file an unemployment claim, you will need to contact Texas Workforce Solutions either by phone or online at www.twc.texas.gov.  They are experiencing long call/wait times in addition to system slowness on their end due to a large number of applicants.  It is best to submit a claim online and between the hours of 10 pm and 8 am for a faster working system. 

If you were furloughed, chances are your health insurance will continue with your employer.  You may want to double-check with them.  If you were terminated or laid off, your insurance likely terminated that same day or at the end of the month.  You can continue your current health insurance through the employer with Cobra, but you will be paying a higher premium.  Look at other health insurance options such as the Affordable Care Act exchanges where you can obtain insurance coverage within 60 days of your employment termination.  If you have suffered a significant drop in income, you may also qualify for Medicaid.

Right now is the time to conserve the money you have in your savings account.  Don’t be scared to be frugal!  There are several agencies that are willing to help the community right now.  If you need food assistance, visit the local food bank and get added to their list for groceries.  Contact your mortgage company or any other companies you owe money to see if they are allowing flexible payments/due dates, waiving late fees, etc.  Re-evaluate your current subscription plans or memberships.  Maybe you can cancel your gym membership since gyms are closed or cancel your Netflix account if you have regular television service.   You can also learn a new craft or take on a hobby to relieve some stress.

 Nevertheless, now is a great time to update your resume with current skillsets and qualifications.  Search job openings daily as many companies are constantly making changes and moving forward.  

We haven’t seen so many Americans unemployed since the Great Depression.   We recovered from that and we will recover from this, we always do!