The state is trying to claw back tens of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits that it mistakenly paid to thousands of Texans, many of whom have already spent the money and face difficulties paying it back.
The Texas Workforce Commission has sent 46,000 notices to jobless workers seeking repayment of unemployment benefits that the state says were too high or for which the workers were not eligible. But people who received the notices say they applied for the benefits and spent them in good faith, approved by the state after navigating a difficult and confusing application process.
Cathy Rohde, a substitute teacher in Conroe, applied and was approved for unemployment benefits after the school district shut down in March and she stopped getting paid. But the first week of June, Rohde got a notice that she owes the state more than $1,800 because, under provisions preventing teachers from collecting unemployment during annual summer breaks, she was not eligible.
By Erin Douglas