Texas Unemployment Benefits
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.
Eligibility to Apply for UI Benefits 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
How to Apply For UI Benefits in Texas?
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://apps.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/security/logon.do 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.
How to File Weekly Claims
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.
UI Benefits Amount
The Unemployment Insurance Benefits Calculator will help you to find out the approximate unemployment Benefits they may receive in Texas.
Things to Know After Filing An Application
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.
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 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:
TWC Revenue & Trust Management
P.O. Box 149352
Austin, TX 78714-9352
The state extends benefits 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.
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.