The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program is jointly sponsored by the state government and the federal government. The program aims to provide financial relief to those who have lost their jobs for no fault of their own. The unemployment benefits program in Texas also provides applicants to advance in their career by providing opportunities through training programs and job-search programs.
UI Benefit Amount in Texas
The following Unemployment Benefits Calculator will help applicants determine the approximate UI Benefits amount that he or she can receive in Texas.
The eligibility for unemployment benefits in the state of Texas depends on three factors – monetary eligibility, the reason for job separation from the previous organization, and maintaining eligibility.
You must meet all the eligibility criteria to qualify for unemployment benefits in Texas.
Monetary eligibility is one of the primary requirements to qualify for unemployment benefits in Texas. In order to gain monetary eligibility, you must have earned a sufficient amount of wages in your base period (first four of the last five calendar quarters).
It is necessary for the applicants to have earned the required amount of wages in the first four of the last five calendar quarters. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will send you a ‘Statement of Wages and Potential Benefits Amounts’ (also known as the Benefit Statement) confirming whether or not you have earned enough wages during your base period.
The benefit statement will also include your potential weekly benefit amount (WBA), your potential maximum benefit amount (MBA) that you may receive in your benefit period.
The TWC calculates your weekly benefit amount identifying your highest-earning quarter, and dividing it by 25. An upper limit of $507 is set on WBA by TWC for the state of Texas, and the minimum benefit amount that any shortlisted claimant would receive is $68.
To be qualified, you must meet the following requirements:
The total wages earned during the base period must equal 37 times your maximum benefit amount
You must have received wages in at least two of the last four quarters
If you qualified on a prior claim, you are expected to have earned six times your new maximum benefit amount
If in case you were unemployed for the last seven weeks during your base period due to illness, injury or pregnancy that began within 24 months from your start date, you could seek to use an alternative base period.
The second requirement to qualify for Texas unemployment benefits is to establish reason for separation from your previous organization. In order to qualify, you must have separated from your organization due to no fault of your own. The following points highlight the criteria that need to be met with respect to job separation:
You were laid off or the working hours were shortened due to lack of work
You were not fired from the organization due to reasons amounting to misconduct
You did not quit the job due to the lack of interest in the job, or for any other personal reasons
You quit the job with a good work-related reason such as not being paid, he/she must have the proof of the given reason. You must also establish that you tried to correct the issue by taking it up with the employer before quitting
You had to quit due to a medically documented illness, and you must also prove that you are now capable of working
You quit the job to leave with your spouse. TWC, however, will reduce the number of weeks and the total benefit amount for such cases. The reduction will not be applied for military spouses
The reason for your job separation will be verified with the employers. The chances of qualification will be impacted if the reason given by you and the employer does not match.
Showing monetary eligibility and establishing an acceptable reason for separating from the previous organization will make you eligible for unemployment benefits in Texas. You must, however, maintain the eligibility factors throughout the benefits weeks to continue receiving the payment without any stoppage.
To make sure you unemployment benefits in Texas without any hindrance, applicants must consider the following points:
The most important requirement is that the you must be able, available and actively pursuing full-time working opportunities every week
You are physically and mentally able to work throughout the period you are receiving monetary benefits
You must register as a job seeker on WorkinTexas.com within three business days from the day you applied for unemployment benefits
You must readily take up any suitable job offers made to you
You must be a law-abiding citizen throughout the benefits weeks. The payment of your benefit amount will be interrupted if you end up in jail
You are expected to lower your wage request by 75 percent of your normal wage by the 8th week of unemployment
You will need the following documents to apply for unemployment benefits in Texas:
There are two options in the state of Texas to apply for benefits. TWC recommends the online mode to the applicants to file for benefits. Log on to https://lobby.twc.state.tx.us/ui/ to file claims using your existing ID or to create a new user ID. The online portal also allows you to access all the unemployment benefit services.
If for any reason, you cannot access a computer to file your claim for unemployment benefits, TWC also allows you to apply for benefits through a telephone call. To file unemployment in Texas by phone, dial Tele-Center (800-939-6631), and speak to a customer representative. The line will be available from 8 AM to 6 PM on all weekdays.
You can also dial 800-558-8321 to reach the automated telephone line. You can get general information 24 hours a day. However, to request payment or your claim status, you will have to call between 7 AM to 6 PM on all days.
Once an account in TWC portal is created, the applicant can log in to it every week to request for the benefit amount.The applicant should make sure that he or she promptly responds when the department contacts you when his or her request for unemployment benefits is scheduled. The applicant must also actively look for new jobs, and meet the work search requirements.
TWC will pay the weekly benefits promptly if the applicant sticks to the schedule and maintains all the documents without any hindrance.
You are expected to know all the rules and regulations about the services to make sure that you don’t face any hindrance during your benefit weeks.
Being aware of various services provided by TWC, and all the rules and regulations associated with it will help you to make the most of the services offered, while not breaking any rules which may have negative repercussions.
Texas Unemployment Income Tax
How to report unemployment benefits in Texas?
You can report your benefit amount to your federal tax return along with other income such as wages, bank interest, etc. When reporting the unemployment benefits, make sure to follow the below-mentioned points:
Step 1:Enter the TWC Federal ID number, i.e., 74-2764775
Step 2:Report benefit amount that you have received on the designated line of your tax return (as instructed by IRS for your type of income tax return)
Step 3:Enter the taxes amount withheld at your request, if any
Withholding taxes is voluntary in the state. You can request TWC to withhold federal income taxes from your gross unemployment benefit payments. If requested, the Texas Workforce Commission will withhold 10 percent of your gross UI benefits.
How To Withhold Taxes
You can withhold your federal income tax for unemployment benefits by choosing the withholding option when applying for UI benefits online at Unemployment Benefits Services.
Filing Federal Income Tax Return
In January, TWC will send IRS Form 1099-G that lists the total amount of benefits you received. It also includes:
Federal income tax withheld from benefits
Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) payments
When filing a federal income tax return, you need not attach a copy of the form to your federal income tax return. That is because authorities at TWC report the 1099-G information to the IRS.
Now that you know how to file for unemployment benefits in Texas, gather all the necessary information and file a claim.
However, make sure you don’t commit any mistakes as they may lead to denial of your claim. Some of the common mistakes you should avoid are:
Entering the incorrect or incomplete details in your initial claim.
Entering conflicting details from your previous employers. For instance, wage discrepancies, the reason for job separation.
Filing a claim in another state
Not documenting or recording work search activities
Overpayments and Fraud
Overpayments occur when TWC pays unemployment benefits more than when your entitled amount. The state of Texas mandates TWC to recover all such overpayments made.
The law in the state of Texas is clear that TWC has no right to forgive or dismiss any recovery process, and no exception shall be made. Overpayments will also stay on your record, and you will not receive weekly benefits if they have an overpayment to repay back.
The following points identify the possible causes of overpayment:
Not reporting your earnings or showing incorrect earnings when requesting for benefit amount
Providing false information about important aspects such as job-separation and work search documentation
If the ruling of an appeal reverses the eligibility factor after you received benefits from TWC
Not participating in the reemployment programs or other job assistance programs with TWC when required
Failing to register on the WorkinTexas.com, or with a local one-stop center if the claimant is out of state
Also, if TWC finds out that if the cause of the overpayment is due to the willful misrepresentation of facts, or concealing of crucial information, or forgery conducted by the claimant, such an act will be deemed as unemployment fraud.
In the event of fraud, you will have to repay the amount received which you were not entitled to. Also, you will have to pay a penalty of 15 percent on the excessive amount received. Along with the penalty, you may face the following repercussions:
You may face criminal prosecution by state or federal authorities
There could also be a jail sentence
You will not receive the remaining benefit amount
The excessive money drawn by the claimant must be returned to TWC without exception. If in the case you’ve not repaid the amount, expect the following repercussions:
The overpayments will stay on the record of the claimant till it is completely repaid
If you apply for benefits in the future, TWC will deduct the weekly payments until the overpayment is completely repaid
TWC can stake claim to the money you may receive from other sources such as lottery winnings, unclaimed property, unemployment benefits, or state-job related expenses until the repayment is full
TWC can also take legal against you to recover the dues
You can repay the amount by mailing a check or money order to TWC. Make sure to include your name, last four digits of the social security number and the account number shown on the billing statement.
Mail the money order or the check to the following address:
Unemployment fraud is a serious but frequent issue. Fraud can be anything from keeping an overpayment to lying about your job history, wages, or termination. Another type of unemployment fraud involves identity theft.
It’s fairly common for scammers to file unemployment under someone else’s Social Security number. Sometimes the victim of ID theft will get random notifications to verify their ID.me or receive a debit card, check, or IRS 1099-G tax form in the mail even though they never signed up for unemployment benefits.
What to do if you are a victim of identity theft
If you are a victim of ID theft on an unemployment claim, you can report fraud online on the Texas Workforce Commission’s website. Once you access the online fraud portal, you will need to submit your name, Social Security number, contact info, a copy of your driver’s license, and copies of any TWC claim documents you received. Keep in mind that you may not receive a letter, call or email back from TWC unless they need additional information from you.
If you received a tax form in the mail for unemployment benefits that you did not receive, you also need to contact the IRS to report fraud. You are also advised to report the identity theft to your local police station and contact a credit reporting agency like Experian, Equifax, or Transunion to request a fraud alert to be put on your credit report for free. If your bank or credit account information was also stolen, you should also get a hold of them to report the theft and possibly freeze your account.
Identity theft can affect anyone, but there are some measures you can take to prevent it from happening to you. Use common sense and never click suspicious links you find in unsolicited emails or text messages. Identity theft relies upon stealing your Social Security number, so only enter personal information after you have made sure a website has a secure URL and encrypted connection.
Texas extended unemployment benefits are available only when the state’s unemployment rate is beyond the threshold level or there is economic-downturn. You can pay a visit to the TWC website to determine the current available Reemployment Assistance plans.
Texas Job Training Assistance
TWC provides employment opportunities, apprenticeship opportunities, vocational training, and many similar services to help you develop your skill set. The website provides various avenues to help them in career advancement.
If you are thinking of going back to school to update your skill set, TWC has a program called Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) program. This program supports those who are aged 16 years or older and not have a high school degree.
TWC partners with local AEL workshops, Workforce solution offices, and non-profit organizations that work in the area of supporting and guiding adult learners. The objective of the program is to enable those who did not have the opportunity to go to school to rise up to the level and help them find better career opportunities.
TWC also has training programs in place for the regular job-seekers who are looking to add value to their resume. You can locate training centers approved by TWC or by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) using the Eligible Training Provider System (ETPS). The ETPS will help you find appropriate training that is suited to your requirements.
If your unemployment claim is denied by the state of Texas, you have the right to file an appeal. In Texas, there are 3 levels of the unemployment appeal process.
The first level of appeal, an appeal to the Appeal Tribunal, is a telephone hearing. To start the appeals process, you must file an appeal in writing within 14 days of receiving a denial letter. You can submit your written appeal online, in person at your local Workforce Solutions office, or by mailing or faxing your written letter to the Appeals Department, whose address is on your denial letter. You may not send an appeal over email or by phone. In your written appeal, you need to include your name, Social Security number, current address, the date you received your denial letter, a copy of your denial letter, and any dates you are not able to attend a hearing.
It can take 6-8 weeks to hear back from the Appeal Tribunal. They will send you an information packet that includes the date and time of your telephone hearing 5-10 days before the hearing. On the day of your telephone hearing, you and your employer can present documents, testimony, and witnesses relevant to your case. The hearing officer will make a decision and mail it to you.
The next level of appeal if you disagree with the Appeal Tribunal’s decision is appealing to the Commission. Just like with the first level of appeal, you have to send a written appeal within 14 days of receiving the Appeal Tribunal’s denial letter. The Commission will listen to a recording of your phone hearing and make their own ruling.
If the Commission denies your claim, there is still another level of appeal. You have the decision to either request a Motion for Rehearing or Appeal to a Civil Court.
You can request a Motion for Rehearing within 14 days of receiving the Commission’s denial letter. However, your Motion for Rehearing will only be approved if you have new information to present, a good reason why you did not give the new information at your previous hearing, and a reason why you believe the new information could change the decision of your claim.
Even if your Motion for Rehearing request is denied, you can still appeal to a Civil Court. You must file an appeal to the Civil Court 15-28 days after getting your Commission decision letter. Instructions on how to do so are included with this letter.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance in Texas
If a disaster causes you to lose your job, you may be eligible to apply for this federal government assistance program. To receive Texas Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), you must be unemployed because of a disaster, have legal authorization to work in the US, be able and available to work, be actively looking for work unless injured or sick because of a disaster, have not turned down an offer or referral for work, and request DUA payments in a timely manner.
Weekly DUA benefits are calculated using your past wages from the previous calendar year. The quarter during which you earned the highest wages is taken, divided by 25, then rounded to the nearest dollar to determine how much money you will receive per week. The minimum amount is 50% of the state average weekly benefit amount (WBA). Your WBA may be reduced if you only worked part time before the disaster or if you receive other benefits or insurance payments for loss of salary due to the disaster.
To apply for DUA, you must first apply for regular unemployment benefits online or by calling a Tele-Center. If you are eligible for regular benefits, then those will be paid first before you can apply for DUA. You will be mailed information on how to apply for DUA in addition to regular benefits. If you are not eligible to get regular benefits, you can still apply for DUA online or by calling a Tele-Center.
Within 3 days of applying for DUA, you will need to fill out your work search registration either online at WorkinTexas.com or by visiting your closest Workforce Solutions office. You will also need to send proof of your occupation that was impacted by a disaster, such as a pay stub, bank records of direct deposit, or employer’s written statement, to TWC within 21 days. Unless you are told that you are exempt from the work search requirement, you must continue to actively search for full time work.
Eligibility for DUA is decided on a week to week basis, so you will need to continuously submit DUA payment requests in order to keep receiving DUA benefits.
How to Stop Receiving Texas Unemployment Benefits
Once you find a job, you will need to notify Workforce Solutions that you are no longer unemployed. You can send a message through the Message Center at WorkinTexas.com or call or stop by your local Workforce Solutions office to give them your employer name and start date.
Part time work may still qualify for partial UI benefits, as long as you are still looking for a full time job. Full time work will disqualify you from UI benefits. You can continue receiving benefits up until the start date of your new job. To stop benefits, simply stop filing a weekly claim.
You can still look for work at WorkinTexas.com even if you get a full time job. To stop work registration notifications about jobs, notify WorkInTexas that you have a job.
Texas Workforce Solutions is a local and statewide network, which consists of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and all its statewide operations. This network gives applicants access to local workforce solutions and statewide services at numerous Workforce Solutions offices.
The Boards are responsible for strategic planning of universal employment services for employers and job-seekers. The integrated workforce delivery system maximizes funding and productivity while eliminating duplicate efforts. Through performance-based contracts, TWC monitors and holds the Boards accountable for program performance and provides technical assistance as needed. About Us provides more detailed information about Texas Workforce Solutions.
Q. Can I be anonymous while reporting fraud in the state of Texas?
The state of Texas allows you to remain anonymous if you call the TWC Fraud Hotline at 800-252-3642 to report fraud. You, however, cannot be anonymous if you use email to submit the information.
Q. What programs and services do TWC provide?
Some of the important functions of TWC include developing the workforce, providing support services including childcare for the selected populations participating in workforce training and adult education and literacy services. TWC also specializes in providing services for people with disabilities to obtain training and employment and administering the Unemployment Benefits and Unemployment Tax programs. TWC also provides information and analysis on shifts in occupations and industries within the state.
For job seekers and employees, in particular, the department offers services such as career development information, job-search resources, training programs and, as appropriate, unemployment benefits.
Q. Can I change my name, address, email ID and phone number?
You cannot change your name from the system while receiving benefits during the benefit period. You may, however, call the TWC Tele-Center by dialing 800-558-8321 to check if you can change your name manually.
You may change your address, Email ID and phone number using the TWC portal.
Q. Where do I appeal if I have any grievances?
There are three levels of appeals. You start with the first level, and if you disagree with that decision, you may proceed through the other levels.
Appeal to the Appeal Tribunal
Appeal to the Commission
Motion for Rehearing or Appeal to a Civil Court
Q. What is a Motion for Rehearing or Appeal to a Civil Court?
If you do not agree with the Commission decision, you may request a Motion for Rehearing by the Commission. TWC will grant the Motion for Rehearing only if you can present all of the following:
Important new information about your case
The reason(s) why you did not present this information earlier
TThe reason(s) why you think this information could change the decision
As a result, the department will ask for further identifying documents for verification. Whenever there is a question of correct identity, the Department requires identifying documents to ensure benefits are paid only to those who are legally entitled to receive them.
Failure to provide the requested documentation may result in a denial of benefits.
Q. What is a waiting week?
The state of Texas has made it mandatory to hold your benefits for the first payable week as the “waiting week.” You will only be paid for the waiting week once you have received two times your weekly benefit amount and returned to full-time work or exhausted your unemployment benefits.
Q. What are Special Reemployment Activities? Am I required to attend it?
TWC requires you to participate in special reemployment activities if you are likely to run out of benefits before you find work. If selected, your Workforce Solutions office sends a letter, and you must participate as instructed.