EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – An El Paso mechanic was laid off just as his wife was about to give birth to their fourth child.
He quickly went to the Texas Workforce Commission to apply for unemployment, only to find out he didn’t qualify.
“We have three kids and I’m in the hospital right now we just had a daughter we just had a newborn,” said Victor Yanez an El Paso father of four.
Yanez’s baby girl weighing 7 pounds and 2 ounces.
He should be celebrating, but instead the fear of how to feed his family is weighing heavy on his mind. He was hoping to receive an unemployment check to help while he searches for a new job.
“For whatever reason, I’m not eligible. Like I said, I was only there 8 months so if that’s why, then so what now,” said Yanez.
UTEP economics professor Tom Fullerton says Yanez is not eligible for unemployment because he hadn’t been with the company for more than a year.
“The easiest method for determining whether a person qualifies for unemployment is look at how long they have held the position they currently hold,” Fullerton said. “And whether they and their employers were making unemployment premium payments on each pay check.”
According to the Texas Work Force Commission, as of April 25 there are 31,553 El Pasoans who have filed for unemployment. Of those, 6,240 were not eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
“Unemployment rates in our region are going to reach record high levels,” said Fullerton.
However, even though Victor Yanez doesn’t qualify for unemployment he is staying positive.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do but I’m going to make it happen. I don’t know how but I’m going to do what I’ve got to do to take care of my kids,” said Yanez.
Fullerton’s advice for how people can be sure they will be eligible in the future:
“Simply examine the paycheck when it arrives you know every 15 days or every 30 days and see whether unemployment insurance premiums are being extracted it will be listed on the paychecks stubs,” said Fullerton.