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Texas Unemployment Benefit Questions

I lost my job in Texas. What do I do now?

The first thing you need to do is find another job. While there are a number of ways to go about a job search, registering as a job seeker on the WorkInTexas website is a great start. And if you are eligible to collect unemployment benefits, that will be a requirement for ongoing eligibility. The second thing you should do is apply for Texas unemployment benefits to assist in covering your ongoing expenses, so that you don’t have to dip into savings (or dip too much). If your workplace provided a healthcare plan, you should find out about COBRA coverage. And whether it did or didn’t, you should look into Texas Medicaid.

How much will my benefit payments be?

The Texas Workforce Commission will look at the first four quarters of the last five complete quarters before the quarter in which you applied for benefits. This is called your base period. Of those four quarters, they will take your highest earning quarter and divide that number by 25 to get your weekly benefit amount, which will be at least $72 and no more than $563.

You can collect these benefits every week until you’ve accumulated 26 times your WBA or 27% of the earnings in your highest earning quarter from your base period—whichever is lesser. Check out a Texas unemployment calculator to see exactly how much you’ll get.

When will my first benefit check arrive?

If you are deemed eligible, your first benefit check should arrive during the 3rd or 4th week post filing the initial claim. The payment you receive is for the 2nd payable week and will be issued by the TWC. The first week is considered as the waiting week for which you are eligible but you won’t be awarded any benefit checks during this week. However, you will be paid for the waiting week after the 3rd or 4th week.

If you don’t have any income or deductions and you continue to file your weekly claims, your payments will be as follows:

  1. File claims for 1st and 2nd week – payment will be given for 2nd week alone
  2. File claims for 3rd and 4th weeks – payment will be given for 3 weeks
  3. File claims for other 2 week periods – payment will be awarded for 2 weeks

What is a waiting week?

You will not receive unemployment benefits right away. Instead, you will actually need to wait one week after your application date in a time period known as the waiting week. Your first unemployment benefits payment will include this amount of money.

One reason for this waiting week is so that the Texas Workforce Commission can look into your unemployment claim and verify that all its components are accurately representing your claim. This is why you need to make sure to represent your previous wages accurately, as well as the reason for your termination or (in certain cases) resignation. If you have questions, you can call the Texas unemployment phone number.

How do earnings affect my weekly benefit amount?

If you work and earn money while collecting unemployment benefits, you need to report that. Earning money does not mean you’re going to lose your benefits. In fact, you can earn up to 25% of your weekly benefit amount (WBA) without seeing a reduction in your benefits. Anything after that will reduce your weekly benefit payment dollar for dollar. An example: let’s say your weekly benefit amount is $300, and you do some work for $100. Since 25% of your WBA is actually $75, your benefits will be reduced by $25 for a total of $275.

Are Texas UI benefits taxable?

Yes, benefits are taxable.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants you to report your UI benefits as income.  TWC (Texas Workforce Commission) mails statements in January that tell the total amount of benefits paid to you during the calendar year.  You can also call Tele-Serv for the amount.  TWC report this amount directly to the IRS.

You may opt to have a portion of your benefits payment withheld for your taxes. If you wish to do so, then complete and return the tax withholding form we send to you by mail.

What is an overpayment?

An overpayment is when you receive benefits that you should not have received. If you did not report income when filing your biweekly claim, misrepresented your wages by inflating them on your initial application, provided false information about your termination, did not complete your required job search activities, or committed Texas unemployment fraud, you may receive an overpayment.

This overpayment will need to be returned, and there is no exception for hardship, no statute of limitations (meaning, it can be collected at any time during your life), and you cannot collect any future unemployment until the overpayment is returned—even if the overpayment was not your fault. If fraud was involved, you will need to pay an additional 15% penalty.

What are Texas unemployment work search requirements?

The Texas work search requirements are fairly straightforward. You need to register as a job seeker on the WorkInTexas website, and you need to apply to a certain number of jobs per week. While the exact required number ranges from county to county, it’s typically around three searches per week.

During the first 8 weeks of collecting unemployment, if you find a suitable job that pays at least 90% of your previous salary, you need to take it. After that point, anything suitable paying 75% or more is going to be your next job…otherwise you will be denied benefits. You need to keep a record of your job search activities, because the Texas Workforce Commission may request a review of this record anytime during the time in which you are collecting unemployment.

What is WorkinTexas?

WorkInTexas is a job board and matchmaking service that connects potential employees with employers. Based on your skills, work experience, training, education, location, and other factors, WorkInTexas can help you connect with your next potential employer.

WorkInTexas can also connect you with additional services through a Workforce Solutions office location near you, where you can get one-on-one guidance in creating a resume, interview coaching, and other related job search assistance. There are also free online courses and training programs available on the site.

What if I can’t find new work?

Unemployment benefits are meant to be a short term solution. If you are unable to find work, contact WorkInTexas to discuss other employment options. The staff can connect you with some reemployment programs that are set up to help Texans reenter the workforce and get off unemployment.

If you were injured at work or have a work-related illness, you may be eligible to collect workers compensation or Social Security Disability. Keep in mind that you do not have to take a job that is outside of normal commuting patterns, does not match your skill sets, or compromises your moral standards.

What to do if you move way from Texas?

Tell TWC right away if you change your mailing address because:

  • Texas Workforce office gives your new address to Chase Bank, which sends you the TWC UI Visa debit card and debit-card account information.
  • The U.S. Postal Service does not forward some TWC documents that require a response. If you do not respond on time, you might not obtain benefits.
  • We mail other important benefit and appeal documents, as well as IRS forms, to the address we have on record, so please keep it current!

Change your address online at twc.texas.gov. After you log on, select Contact information. You can also call the Texas unemployment phone number to speak with a customer service representative.

  1. Hi i applied for benefits a couple days ago and i was wondering when will my application be processed

    • William,

      There will be a delay considering the number of applications that are being processed. Please continue chasing the office/check your status online at regular intervals until payments normalize.

  2. I am trying to talk to someone, about my benefits, I got an e-mail telling me that I was NOT going to get unemployment, for a certain period, which is understandable, BUT I want to know if I am disqualified for benefits completely or if I am qualified.. I HAVE BEEN CALLING BUT I GET NO ONE ON THE LINE..

    • Jimmy,

      There will be thousands of applications for the office to be processed. Make sure to check the status at regular intervals. There might be limited phone support due to the shortage of staffing.

  3. I ALREADY GOT MY TEMPORARY BENEFITS LETTER AND SIGNED UP FOR TWC DEBIT CARD. I CHECKED THE WEBSITE AND I CAN SEE THE AMOUNT THAT I AM ELIGIBLE FOR BUT NO FUNDS BEEN RELEASED. MY QUESTION IS: IS UNEMPLOYMENT DEPOSITING MY BENEFITS AFTER I RECEIVE THE CARD?

    • Janice,

      That might be correct. Please wait for a couple of days and make contact accordingly if you don’t find the monies.

  4. My claim is telling me to file by mail? And call the center to get papers for that?! What in the world how does that work when you can’t get through? Someone help I’m frustrated and just needing my money to get by

  5. I requested payment and was told that it’d been sent out on a Tuesday, it’s now the following Wednesday and I haven’t received my check. I had requested for direct deposit but it didn’t get approved and was told I’d receive a check for my first payment, but now direct deposit has been approved. How long does it take for me to receive my first physical check? Do I go to the office or call to figure this out?

    • Danielle,

      Please wait for a response. There will be thousands of applications for the office to be processed. Make sure to check the status at regular intervals.

      • My husband show for dates March 30-April 11 $0 payment for those dates ? But April 12 and on he applied for this week but we haven’t seen a update on back payment does anyone know why ?

        • Desire,

          The payment might still be under process. Please ask your husband to check after logging in.

  6. My benefit year is ending April 12, 2020. I will probably exhaust all funds that were calculated for me. Unfortunately with the Covid-19 I have had a reduction in work for the two part-time jobs I have been working. I still have not gotten a job that matches what I had previously been doing when I applied for unemployment. How would I be informed if there is an approved extension of benefits in relationship to the current virus situation. How would I know if it occurs after April 12 that I can get the extension of benefits? well it just carry over from my current unemployment or will I have to reapply again?

    • I had to call for them to put me into my extension right away so that There was no gap in my unemployment if you wait they will reach out to you but it took awhile for Them to do that for me Iam glade I called ahead a did it had exhausted my unemployment in March all I did was call them and they updated it to The Covid19 and told me to keep filling as normal

    • Maggie,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly.

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

    • I am not sure what you mean. Please provide more details or reach out to the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  7. I was out of work for 2 weeks and applied for unemployment. I was approved and received my first payment. I returned to work and requested my waiting week payment. I was told by the state that not only do you have to return to work to receive your waiting week payment but you have to have received TWO unemployment payments in order to get your waiting week. Am I hearing this correctly? Because I went back to work so quickly, I am ineligible to get my money? How is that fair?

    #hopelessinhoustin

    • This is so crazy. I am in the exact same situation. Employer lays me off, then hires again after 2 weeks, i don’t get paid for waiting week – since i was not unemployed long enough!

  8. I requested my third and fourth week but was only paid for two. According to this forum, I should be paid for three weeks. Does this still apply?

    • Anne,

      I suggest you call the Claims Center for payment status. Make sure to chase at regular intervals until payments normalize.

    • Matthew,

      Please note this is a private forum and we do not have access to your claim info. Please call the Claims Center for an update on weekly payment.

  9. I am retiring at the end of the year in Texas, as a result of reaching my federal law enforcement ‘mandatory’ retirement age of 57. With this being said, am I able to receive unemployment benefits in Texas?

      • I filed for my third and fourth week but was paid for two. So, the saying that you will be paid for three weeks after filing third and fourth is not true?

        • Marie,

          The first week is a “waiting week” and you’ll not be paid for it. Not sure why you haven’t been paid for the other. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  10. If you draw Social Security and have continued to work and you are asked to move and if not you lose your job are you eligible for any benefits?

    • Virginia,

      You should be able to claim UI benefits along with the SS benefits. Make sure to let the office know about your SS payments at the time of application.

  11. I had to pull my retirement money from the source that was holding it because I no longer work with the state employer (Texas). It is a one-time withdrawal but substantial. Do I report this to TWC? Will it affect my UI?

    • Yes, please. Go ahead and report all types of income to the Unemployment Office. It might have an impact on the claim amount.

  12. I was denied benefits for one week because I failed to return my work search log upon request (I never received the request, but that is not my question.) I have appealed that decision, but in the meantime it appears that I not only lost that week but they are now charging me another waiting week. Am I misunderstanding that, and if my appeal is successful will the waiting week be paid as well?

    • Douglas,

      If we’re referring to the initial “Waiting Week”, you’ll not be paid for it. If your claims have been put on hold, you might get paid for it once the file is cleared. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  13. Your statement above about receiving three weeks of pay during week 3 and 4 of unemployment in Texas is inaccurate Texas does not pay the waiting week until someone has returned to work full time and received two times the weekly benefit amount.

  14. I submitted a claim and it says it was processed 11/19/18 however nothing is showing as deposited in my account. Is that correct? How many days does it take for it to appear?

    • James,

      If it’s your first claim, there will be a waiting week. If you still haven’t received the payment, please call the Claims Center for an update.

  15. I am past the 2 x weekly benefit amount and have returned to work full time. I have not received the waiting week yet. So i requested it online. How will i know if i get it and how long does it take to get it?

  16. I am a little confused about the hold week in Texas. So my claim was filed online on the 9th of September. The I signed back in on the 11th to see if I had to submit anything else. There was the link click to “request payment”. I did and then it had me fill out and answer questions about making any money, blah, blah. It now states that the next time I can request is the week of the 23rd. Yet my whole claim is still waiting on employers response. I am not worried about that, been at same job for 5 years. The company moved me to Texas from Atlanta then 11 months later fired me and could not even tell me in person or give me a separation notice. They had another supervisor my equal tell me I was fired. Still have not been told why, 17 days after. Anyway, I was told I qualify for the max payment. When I request payment on the 23rd will it be for 2 weeks plus the 2nd week, leaving the first week to be the hold week? I am trying to figure that out..

    • Robert,

      It looks like your claim is still under processing. If you think your employer might contest your claim, please keep supporting documents handy and file for review if they reject on the basis of feedback from your employer.

  17. I am being relocated with my current employer. My wife will be moving with me. Can she collect unemployment and what does she need to provide to collect

    • Jerry,

      Your wife might not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  18. Am I elegible for unemployment. The physician I work for for one year sold his practice. The new Dr. spoke with me and told me she wasn’t she could afford to keep me on because of my pay rate. She guaranteed me that she would give me one month notice. This was a verbal guarantee. The day she finalized the purchase of the practice she had her reception contact me and tell me she wasn’t keeping me with the purchase of the practice. She cut me loose and said I could not receive my 30 day guarantee notice. She did keep two other employees. There were 3 of us in the practice. Am I eligible to file and receive on either Dr. the seller or the purchaser.

    • Christy,

      If your job was terminated due to involuntary reasons, you will qualify. Please make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute.

  19. I have been laid off my full time job a month back. I have been offered a part time job for 28 hrs a week. Would I still be eligible for unemployment benefits?

    • Mukta,

      It depends on the rule in your state. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification and apply accordingly.

  20. I was laid off after 17yrs. Ive been applying had a couple of interviews. Still nothing. Im still applying to places that are hiring. Alot of places need experience. I was thinking about going to a 10 month program at a school in san antonio texas. Would i still be able to apply for unemployment? Ill be looking for a job to work after school hrs until schooling is done.

    • Arlie,

      If the schooling course if approved by the govt., you might be eligible to attend and claim at the same time. Please contact the Unemployment Office.

  21. I went from working full-time to part-time hours since the company has cut hours. When applying for unemployment would I apply during the week that my hours are being cut or do I wait until the end of the week.

  22. I’m currently working at Wal-Mart. And I am about to be fired for my attendance. Will I qualify for unaploymeny for about a month

    • Josee,

      You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  23. I was layed off in July from a company I worked for for 6 years and am entitled to unemployment benefits. I then took a 4 week contract job from a recruiting company that did not contribute to unemployment. The contract job is now done. Do I first need to file for unemployment using the recruiting company as my last job? I know benefits will be denied. How can I apply for benefits against the company I worked for previously?

    • Marsha,

      I am not sure of a definite answer in your case. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification and apply accorrdingly.

  24. Can I get the federal extension through Texas, where I have resided for the past 14 years?

    I’m a Texas resident and interstate unemployment benefit recipient of GA because that is where my previous employer paid insurance; I traveled nationally for work. GA benefits ran out at week 14. I was told by GA DOL, there are no extensions. When I inquired about a federal benefits extension, I was told to pray to God and keep on looking for a job was my only option. The interstate program is a mess because GA pays according to GA cost of living, not Texas and there is no way to leverage their employment job search assistance as all the jobs listed are in GA.

    • The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  25. My husband was laid off (in TX) in Oct 2016 and collected unemployment until the full benefit amt was paid out. Its now Aug 2017 and he still has not found a job, despite several interviews and applying everywhere he can. Can he reapply for unemployment benefits again if he hasn’t worked since he was laid off? If yes, when can he reapply? now? or does he have to wait until original benefit year is over?

    • Linda,

      As far as I am aware, Unemployment Insurance benefits are a one-time affair.Please call the Unemployment Office for further details.

    • You should receive the payment immediately after the waiting week is over. Ideally, it should not take more than 7-10 days including the “Waiting Week”.

      Please call the Claims Center if you do not receive the payment on time.

  26. I was on workmans compensation for almost a year. I have returned to work but business is closing. Am I eligible for unemployment with only having a couple months back at work?

  27. It looks like I have one week of benefits remaining plus my waiting week. How do I claim just the one week? Select “Yes” I worked in week 2 on the claim form?

  28. I was just laid off after 1 year of employment. They will keep me on payroll until the end of May. Can I draw my unemployment now or do I have to wait till the end of May?

    • You should consider applying from the state where the taxes were paid. You can apply online (if residing in Texas and transfer them over later).

      Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  29. I just received a job offer but will not start for another 2 weeks. Do I still need to apply to openings and complete the Work Search Log until I start?

    • You can continue receiving UI benefits until the job assignment starts.

      Please speak to a representative for further instructions in this regard.

    • Please note this is a private forum. Call the Claims Center on the phone numbers provided to ascertain the payment status.

  30. Hello – I found this below for the state of Georgia. Is Texas the same?

    “Does retirement pay have any effect on my benefits?
    If you are receiving a retirement pension from a base period employer, the pension may be deductible from your weekly benefit amount if your employer contributed 50% or more toward the pension fund. If the pension payment is determined to be deductible, the department will reduce your weekly benefit amount dollar for dollar by the weekly amount of the pension that is attributable to the employer. NOTE: If your pension is from an employer you worked for before the base period, it is not deductible. The receipt of Social Security is also not deductible, although you do have to be available for full-time work. “

  31. I know I will be terminated soon and I’ve been in this company for 11 months, my question is if I withdraw from my IRA to be able to survive is that going to be deducted from my weekly claim? this company did not contribute any money to my retirement but my previous company did, I will be paying taxes and an extra 10% penalty to take some money and I would like to know is this going to impact my weekly eligible amount

    • It will have a bearing on your UI claim. To ascertain the dynamics, please call the Unemployment Office in your state since each state has its own rules in this regard.

  32. April, 2015, I was laid off after 13 yrs. I received severance package, which I had to live on since then. I was told that I could apply for unemployment benefits, but have not. I did not look for other job, since I am over 70 yrs old. Is it too late to apply for benefits? Now I have nothing.

  33. I submitted my 1st time unemployment on June 12, 2016, but I forgot to print out the confirmation. I remember seeing a message similar to “system will be unavailable”, but my request was still accepted. However, it still doesn’t show that I have any requests. Is there any way to figure this out? Thanks!

  34. I filed for unemployment on May 23rd – for the first time in my life. I have not received any payment to date. When I call the auto system, the message just says that there is some issue with application, and they will contact me. I have called their office 8 times now to speak to a representative, but keep getting a “we can’t take your call right now” message. How can I find out what the issue is if I can’t get anyone on the phone. My family needs this money – and I’m getting nowhere. Would it help me to go to the local TWC office? Very, very frustrating!

    • Well, the first claim takes anywhere between 7-10 days to be processed and disbursed.

      You may try logging into your account online or visit the nearest office if the phone lines are busy.

  35. BEEN GETTING UNEMPLOYMENT WAS OVER TURNED AND NOW COMPANY WANTS THE MONEY PAY BACK. HOW CAN I PAY BACK WHEN I NOT WORKING.

  36. i am going to be let go by my employer because of my blood pressure isnt low enough to pass a physical even though i am under a doctors care will i be able to file for unemployment

    • Well, it may be considered a voluntary reason. Please check further with the Unemployment Office in your state by calling them.

  37. Did not receipt unemployment chack this wee, after submitting the necessary data.
    Who do I contact for information?

  38. I work for oil industrial however my company has been doing lay offs. I still have I job but they have cut my hours from 40 hours plus to 28 to 32 hours a week. Can I get unemployment.

  39. I was laid off and im getting my unemployment but my funds ran out and my case don’t end until Aug of 16 I still haven’t fought a job I’ve worked all my life never filed before do they supposed to go back and add all the money from all my yrs of working how do these works

    • I can understand your situation. Unfortunately, there is no extension available.

      Please inquire further with the labor dept in your state.

  40. I was laid off of my job after a contract job ended a month ago. However, I live in Nevada and I can’t find any work here at all. However, I have been applying for work in Texas and wanted to know since I will be leaving here soon, to go to Texas is their anyway I can transfer my unemployment to Texas or can I still file my weekly claim with Nevada until I find a job?

    • One must claim from the state where they last worked.

      You can continue claiming from Nevada or even have them transferred to Texas if you move there. Claiming online is the best way.

  41. Is there a compensation program available to full-time students with a part-time job? I have an employer that is willing to hire me PT while I go to school FT but I still have to support my family of 5.

    • Unemployment Compensation is only provided to those who work full time.

      Please check on your eligibility with the labor authorities in your state.

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