Window on State Government - Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is http://window.state.tx.us/recovery/?
  2. How much money does Texas expect to get?
  3. How is the stimulus money distributed?
  4. How can I find out what stimulus funds are available?
  5. How can I get more information about applying for stimulus Grants and Loans?
  6. How will the state be accountable for stimulus funds?
  7. What information can I find on the Comptroller's weekly reports on federal stimulus money coming to Texas?
  8. How can I get my residence weatherized?
  9. Where do I apply for unemployment benefits?
  10. Where do I apply for food stamps?
  11. Where do I apply for children's Medicaid or for the Children's Health Insurance Program?
  12. Is there more money for financial aid for students?
  13. Did I get my tax cut?
  14. I've lost my job. Can I get help paying for health insurance?
  15. What should I do if I suspect discrimination is occurring in a Recovery Act funded program?


  1. What is http://window.state.tx.us/recovery/?
    • This is Texas' official Web site as required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It is a portal or starting point to obtain information about federal stimulus funds in Texas. The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts maintains this Web site.
  2. How much money does Texas expect to get?
    • The final tally won't be known for a couple of years because many Texas institutions and businesses are still competing for grants, loans and contracts.

      But the Texas Legislature appropriated $14.4 billion of the stimulus money for fiscal 2009, 2010 and 2011. Five state agencies account for 93% of those appropriations: Texas Education Agency, Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and the Texas Workforce Commission.

      The federal government is also sending money directly to local governments and other institutions, such a military bases, in Texas.
  3. How is the stimulus money distributed?
    • More than a third of the $787 billion was earmarked for tax cuts and incentives for individuals and businesses. Much of the money was an automatic expansion of existing federal programs or benefits, such as increases for unemployment benefits or food stamps. The remainder is being awarded competitively either directly from federal agencies or, by extension, through local and state governments.
  4. How can I find out what stimulus funds are available?
  5. How can I get more information about applying for stimulus Grants and Loans?
    • Organizations
      Application for most of the grant opportunities are through the federal Grants.gov site. Organizations applying for federal grants are required to register with the federal Central Contracting Registration system and obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number. The Grants.gov site offers resources to Apply for Grants and Applicant FAQs that can assist with the registration process.

      Individuals
      Grants.gov does not provide personal financial assistance such as government benefits and student loans. Information on these can be found at GovBenefits.gov and Student Aid on the Web.

      Businesses
      Grant opportunities for businesses are limited; However, the Recovery Act expanded several loan programs offered through the federal Small Business Administration (SBA). See our Grant and Loan Opportunities in Texas for a listing of SBA programs and contact information. You can also view the SBA's Recovery Act FAQs (PDF, 408 KB) or call the SBA at 1-800-827-5722. In addition, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act offers many Contracting Opportunities for businesses and other organizations to work on federal projects.
  6. How will the state be accountable for stimulus funds?
    • The Texas Comptroller will track the $14.4 billion that flows through the state treasury. More than 60 state agencies and public institutions of higher education report weekly to the Comptroller the amounts awarded and spent. You can find those reports under our Stimulus Tracking.

      But in Texas' decentralized form of government, every state agency that receives federal stimulus money is responsible for maintaining it own Web site with details about its programs. There are links to those sites under State Activities.

      The federal government also requires all recipients of stimulus money to file quarterly reports at Recovery.gov.

      Federal and state auditors will audit performance and compliance.

      If you suspect fraudulent activity, you can find the authorities to contact under Fraud Prevention.
  7. What information can I find on the Comptroller's weekly reports on federal stimulus money coming to Texas?
    • At Transparency & Reporting you will find the weekly reports under Stimulus Tracking. More than 60 state agencies and public institutions of higher education provide the information. The reports are updated for the public on Wednesdays.
      • The "Summary of Funds Received" report summarizes the money that the agencies and colleges report receiving each week.
      • The "By State Agency" report reflects the amounts that the state agencies and colleges show as allocated or requested as well as revenue that's been awarded, obligated and disbursed.
      • The "By Federal Agency" report compares the amounts awarded so far to the revenue requested or allocated.
      • The "Disbursement Information" report shows federal stimulus disbursements by Texas state agencies as processed in the Uniform Statewide Accounting System (USAS).
  8. How can I get my residence weatherized?
    • The federal government provided weatherization money to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), but cities and nonprofit organizations are providing the service at the local level. To apply, call the TDHCA at 1-888-606-8889 to be connected to a local service provider or locate a provider online via a list of Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) subrecipients (PDF, 136 KB).
  9. Where do I apply for unemployment benefits?
    • The Texas Workforce Commission encourages online applications, so visit its Helpful Information for Claimants. If you don't have computer access, you can use one at 240 local workforce centers across the state.
  10. Where do I apply for food stamps?
    • There are more than 300 offices around the state. You can find the nearest one by calling 2-1-1 or going to www.yourtexasbenefits.com.
  11. Where do I apply for children's Medicaid or for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)?
  12. Is there more money for financial aid for students?
    • Yes, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided more money for financial aid for higher education. You should contact the financial aid office at the school that you want to attend to request additional information.
  13. Did I get my tax cut?
    • In April 2009, many Texans should have seen a small increase in their weekly or monthly take-home pay. The increase is up to $400 a year for an individual and up to $800 for a couple.

      The tax cut, however, phases out for individuals making more than $75,000 a year and couples making more than $150,000. The self-employed can claim their tax cut when they file their income tax returns.

      The tax cut is for 2009 and 2010.
  14. I've lost my job. Can I get help paying for health insurance?
    • For certain unemployed individuals, the federal government will help pay for continuation of employer-provided health insurance (commonly called COBRA). Eligible individuals pay only 35 percent of their COBRA premiums and the remaining 65 percent is reimbursed to the coverage provider through a tax credit. The subsidy program applies to people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own between September 1, 2008, and March 2, 2010, (in some instances, through May 31, 2010). The premium reduction applies to periods of health coverage that began on or after February 17, 2009 and lasts for up to 15 months.

      You can find more information at COBRA Continuation Coverage Assistance Under ARRA or Texas Department of Insurance ARRA Resource Page.
  15. What should I do if I suspect discrimination is occurring in a Recovery Act funded program?
    • Recovery Act funded programs or activities must comply with all nondiscrimination and equal opportunity statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders that apply to the distribution and use of federal funds. Consequently, Recovery Act funded programs or activities must be free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, and where applicable, sex, religion, age and family status. The federal agency that provides Recovery Act funding to state and local entities is responsible for ensuring compliance with the civil rights laws applicable to the federal agency’s grant program.

      If you know which federal agency is providing the Recovery Act funds, contact the federal agency for information about filing a discrimination complaint. If you are not sure which agency funds the program, you may file a discrimination complaint with the Coordination and Review Section of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, or call the Title VI hotline (888-848-5306/ TDD 202-307-2678) for additional information. If you are interested in more detailed information about the scope of civil rights statutes that apply to all recovery act funded programs see the Department of Justice's Notice on Civil Rights Obligations.

 

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