TEXAS unemployment benefits are set to be slashed again, this time for people who had previously been granted unemployment benefits.
According to a report from Axios, Texas could begin to end its benefit program for low-wage workers in the state, which has been plagued by long waits for job seekers.
Axios reported that state and local officials were discussing a proposed cut in benefits for up to 200,000 Texans who received benefits before the cuts were announced earlier this month.
Axioms reporter Jason Noble wrote that “state and local lawmakers said the cut could affect hundreds of thousands of low-income residents who have been unable to find jobs, including those with childless spouses, single mothers and single parents who depend on benefits.”
A spokeswoman for Texas Department of Human Services told Axios that it was unable to comment on the report, but that “every decision about our benefit programs is made on an individual basis, based on the need for the benefit program, as well as our current state and federal fiscal priorities.”
The cut would hit Texas the hardest, Axiom reported, as it has been the state with the highest percentage of low earners receiving unemployment benefits, and that it has seen the most cuts in recent years.
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Texas is currently experiencing a severe shortage of housing, and the state has struggled to find enough housing for those looking for work.
According the Texas Tribune, the state’s median household income fell to $61,827 in July, which is more than double the national median of $43,838.
In the state as a whole, median household incomes were also slightly lower at $51,958.
Axiom noted that the cuts would hit a large swath of Texas, and would disproportionately hit low- and middle-income Texans, and those with children.
Axis wrote that many Texas residents, including a majority of those who are currently receiving unemployment payments, “are not eligible for the state-subsidized benefits they need.”
Many of those individuals are also eligible for other state and government assistance, Axiom reported, but the state was already cutting benefits in an attempt to stem the crisis.
A spokesperson for the Texas Department for Human Services said that “it is not our policy to comment publicly on specific employee benefits.
However, as of July 1, we are making a decision to suspend the state benefit program that was previously scheduled to end in 2019.”
The Texas Department Of Human Services also said that those eligible for state unemployment benefits would receive benefits for six months and would be subject to the same eligibility requirements as other state workers.
In an interview with the Austin American-Statesman, Gov.
Greg Abbott, the current leader of the state party, said the cuts “will hit our most vulnerable workers hardest,” and that he did not want to see the program continue for “too long.”
He said he had spoken with state lawmakers and was concerned about how they would react to the announcement.
“I have said this before, we don’t want this program to be a death sentence,” Abbott said.
“We want to keep it here and provide a safety net, and make sure it’s there for people that need it the most.”
Axiomedis did not identify which workers would be affected by the cuts.
However the state Department of Labor, which provides unemployment benefits to more than 5 million Texans, said that about 3 million people have received unemployment benefits through the state government, and about 1.5 million people were receiving benefits through private employers.
Axion said that the department is “considering options to provide assistance to those who need it, including people who are eligible for federal unemployment benefits.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.