Jobless Texans get reprieve on unemployment deadline

AUSTIN — The Texas Workforce Commission took emergency action Tuesday to continue unemployment assistance to as many as 15,000 jobless Texans who were in danger of exhausting their benefits by the end of the month.

The unanimous vote by the three-member commission implements a 13-week extended benefits program that was threatened by a months-long delay as state officials struggled to implement federal requirements accompanying the program.

The additional benefits will be available to jobless workers who are close to exhausting their 59 weeks of regular state and federal benefits. Commission officials have said as many as 100,000 workers would be eligible for extended benefits by November, including the estimated 15,000 whose benefits were expected to run out this month.

Last week, Gov. Rick Perry ordered commission officials to expedite the payments after reports that the benefits could be delayed for weeks or months because state officials were having trouble reprogramming computers to implement eligibility and reporting requirements.

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