TWC is providing guidance for employers, job seekers, and child care facilities who participate in their subsidized child care program during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This information can be found by visiting and clicking on the red banner at the top of the webpage.

The following information was provided by TWC for members to share with their constituents and help guide them through unemployment benefit claims and other services. To access local Workforce Solutions Boards in your district, visit

Resources For Employers:
Legal Options & Work-From-Home Policies: Call TWC at 1-800-832-9394 or email

Unemployment Benefit Claim Self-Service for Employers: TWC can help businesses affected by COVID-19 with managing layoffs and unemployment benefit claims. Claims can be managed online at any time by using TWC’s online unemployment portal, Employer Benefits Services, or by calling TWC’s Tele-Center employers’ line at 866-274-1722 from 8AM – 6PM CT Monday through Friday.

Texas Unemployment Insurance (UI): TWC will be waiving work search requirements for all claimants and the waiting week for those claimants affected by COVID-19. Extended Benefits (EB) and Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) are NOT available at this time. The Texas Unemployment Insurance (UI) program pays benefits to those individuals who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. TWC determines benefit eligibility based on past wages, why someone lost their job, and ongoing eligibility requirements.

Mass Claims & Shared Work Programs

The Mass Claims program streamlines the unemployment benefit claims process for employers faced with either temporary or permanent layoffs. Employers can submit basic worker information on behalf of their employees to initiate claims for unemployment benefits and submit a mass claim request on Employer Benefits Services.

If business has slowed down due to the pandemic and an employer needs to reduce employee working hours, they may be able to avoid laying off employees by submitting a shared work plan. The Shared Work program provides Texas employers with an alternative to layoffs. TWC developed this voluntary program to help Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business.
Shared Work allows employers to:

• Supplement their employees’ wages lost because of reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits.
• Reduce normal weekly work hours for employees in an affected unit by at least 10 percent but not more than 40 percent; the reduction must affect at least 10 percent of the employees in that unit.

Shared Work unemployment benefits are payable to employees who qualify for and participate in an approved Shared Work Plan. Workers may choose not to participate. Employees who qualify will receive both wages and Shared Work unemployment benefits.

For more information, see TWC’s Shared Work web page.
Online Tax Services & Resources: Employers may visit TWC’s Unemployment Tax Services to submit their state unemployment tax reports, make payments, change an on-file mailing address, close their account, adjust previous reports, and more.

Resources For Jobseekers:
Unemployment Benefit Claims & Employment Insurance: Call 1-800-832-2829 or email
If an individual’s employment has been affected by COVID-19, they can apply for benefits either online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling TWC’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8AM – 6PM CT Monday through Friday.

Resources For Child Care Services:
Many families and child care programs that participate in the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) subsidized child care program have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, TWC’s three-member Commission approved the following actions to mitigate the impact:

• Effective March 1, 2020, children may accrue absences without impacting ongoing eligibility for services or provider reimbursements. TWC will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make a future determination on when this absence policy will conclude. Providers will continue to be paid, if children are absent, or if the provider is temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
• Workforce development boards are authorized to make supplemental payments to child care programs to cover lost parent share of cost payments. TWC will issue further guidance on calculating supplemental payments.
TWC will be issuing additional guidance to local Workforce Solutions staff shortly to address the following issues:
• Interruptions in parents’ ongoing participation in work, education, or training
• Child care eligibility redeterminations
• Continued payments to child care programs
• Texas Rising Star processes

COVID-19 Essential Workers Child Care Category
TWC created a new child care eligibility category that covers those deemed “essential” workers (i.e. pharmacists, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, first responders, critical infrastructure, mail and delivery workers, nursing home and other direct-care workers, grocery and gas station employees, bank employees, employees of restaurants with drive-thru services, and military personnel).

TWC is in the process of rolling out the application system online and is seeking waivers from the federal government so that they can limit the program to only the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.



Once again the people of District 85 have made their voices heard. With over 18,000 votes cast, our campaign won 78% of the vote! That is a landslide victory! I am overwhelmed by the support from all three counties. With this huge amount of momentum, we will send the Democrats packing in November.

Thank you to everyone who block walked, put out signs, shared our Facebook posts, attended our fundraisers, and sat at polling places. I could not have done this without all of you! We fought for every single vote and we should be proud of that.

As your State Representative I will continue to fight for the unborn, common sense legislation, and conservative principles. We will stop the democrats from turning our great state into another California. Re-districting is the big item on the docket next session and I am ready for a fight!

Thank you all for your continued support! On to November!

-Representative Phil Stephenson-


AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today endorsed Republican Phil Stephenson for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives. The state of Texas is on the path toward a brighter future thanks to the leadership of Representative Stephenson. In a statement, Governor Abbott expressed his appreciation for Representative Stephenson’s role in securing property tax and school finance reform.

“Representative Stephenson worked hard to secure school finance and property tax reform for the people of Jackson, Wharton and Fort Bend Counties, and I am proud to endorse him for re-election,” said Governor Abbott. “I appreciate his tireless work to build a brighter future for our great state.”

Greg Abbott endorses Phil Stephenson


State Representative Phil Stephenson files for reelection to House District 85

November 19, 2019


Saturday, November 9th, State Representative Phil Stephenson filed with the Republican Party of Texas for reelection as representative for House District 85. HD 85 is comprised of south Fort Bend, Wharton and Jackson Counties.

“If I have the honor and privilege to return to the Texas House, I will continue to apply my skills to fight for meaningful property tax relief, as well as work to reduce unfunded liabilities in our public retirement systems. As the next legislative session will be a redistricting year, it is important that we have experienced, knowledgeable, and conservative legislators in place.”  Stephenson said.

Stephenson is seeking a fifth term. He is the only practicing CPA is the Texas House.


Phil presenting Ag. Pesticide Bill in the 85th Legislature.


My office has received several calls about proposition 4. The language regarding this amendment is confusing. Let me be clear, if you DO NOT want a state income tax vote YES for proposition 4 on November 5, 2019. If this measure does not pass, it DOES NOT mean Texas will have an income tax. Please, if you have any questions regarding proposition 4 call my district office at 281-232-7900.




Grand Parkway to remain in TxDot’s 2020 UTP

The morning of August 29th Representative Phil Stephenson (R -HD85) attended the Texas Department of Transportation’s final public hearing addressing the 2020 Unified Transportation Program, the department’s ten year plan. Stephenson had addressed a previous hearing earlier in August to urge TxDot not to remove funding for the Grand Parkway Project from the UTP.

The Grand Parkway Project, a segment of which will be an extension of HWY 99 south of I69 (Crabb River Road) to HWY 288, has been a component of the TxDot’s UTP since 2009.  Fears have lingered this could change moving forward.

To a room filled to capacity and overflowing into the waiting area, Representative Stephenson firmly addressed the commissioners.

“Texas is the greatest economic engine in the Union. This project is a must if the southern region of the Greater Houston area is to accommodate its growth,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson turned his testimony to public safety issues.

“I have lived in Wharton County for a long time, and I have seen the consequences of folks trying to escape a natural disaster who don’t have adequate evacuation routes,”

Nearly a hundred were on hand to testify so the representative cut his testimony short.

“You promised it, let’s finish it!” Stephenson said.

Recognizing the imperative nature of the issue, TxDot commissioners eventually cut further testimony and announced they were leaving the Grand Parkway Project in the 2020 UTP.

The Grand Parkway Contract resulted from a series of negotiations between Houston-Galveston Area Council, TxDot, Houston, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, Chambers, Montgomery, and Liberty Counties. The contract establishes both a minimum and ultimate project scope, limits toll rates, as well as dedicates their collection exclusively to the project.

Its completion will provide both the Port of Houston and the Port of Freeport a direct route to both I69 and I10. Interested parties had threatened a lawsuit if the project was dropped, as removal of the Grand Parkway from the UTP without the consent of all parties would be a violation of the agreement.

Also, present and testifying were Representatives’ Rick Miller, Ed Thompson, and Mayes Middleton.

“I want to thank all the elected officials, economic development councils and concerned citizens for the work they have done to keep this project alive and going forward. We need to move on this ASAP. In a few years it could cost double what it’s going to cost now.” Stephenson commented after the hearing concluded.

The Fort Bend portion of the Grand Parkway project falls entirely within House District 85, Stephenson’s district.


Representative Phil Stephenson (R-HD 85) will seek re-election for State Representative of House District 85.

“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to have the opportunity to serve the people of Fort Bend, Wharton and Jackson counties. I hold a special regard for those I represent and have labored hard to give them a voice in Austin,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson’s first term as state representative for HD 85 was in 2013, the year redistricting went into effect. He has served without interruption since. Stephenson remains committed to meaningful property tax reform, solving funding issues for Teacher Retirement System, and working with constituents and local governments to meet their specific needs.

“This past 86th legislature the House and Senate took significant steps towards relieving over-burdensome property taxes, reforming school funding, and coming to the aid of our teachers, both active and retired. But there is still much work to do, including redistricting in the 87th legislature,” Stephenson added.

Stephenson has been a practicing CPA for over forty years and has extensive knowledge of government budgeting and is a strong advocate of transparency.

“God and the voters willing, I hope to return to the Texas House to continue working for the state and the people I love.” Stephenson concluded.