AUSTIN, Texas – The deadline for jobless Texans to qualify for emergency unemployment benefits has been extended to March 3, 2012, affecting approximately 78,000 Texans who would have otherwise exhausted their unemployment benefits during January 2012.

Congress approved the extension before Dec. 31, when qualified claimants would have faced a gap in benefits.

Claimants should continue to request unemployment benefit payments on their scheduled day.

The legislation did not add benefits for individuals who already have exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits, Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits.

Claimants who currently receive benefits may find updated information on their claims by logging on to ui.texasworkforce.org, or by calling TWC’s Tele-Serv at 1-800-558-8321 and selecting the second option (payment information or status of your claim).

There is no need to call TWC to qualify for this extension unless claimants receive a letter telling them to do so.

Emergency unemployment benefits are entirely federally funded, so Texas employers will not be charged for any claims paid on this extension.

TWC and the 28 local Workforce Development Boards remain committed to providing work search assistance, training and other services to unemployed Texans.

Thousands of job postings are available on WorkInTexas.com, TWC’s online job-matching website.

The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically.

For details on TWC and the programs it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call (512) 463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org.