Texas Unemployment Extension
What Are Texas Unemployment Extended Benefits?
Texas unemployment extended benefits constitute a special program of benefits available to unemployed Texans during extremely high periods of national unemployment. Under this program, the Texas Workforce Commission will pay extended benefits to those receiving unemployment compensation if the average total unemployment rate in Texas exceeds 6.5% after it is seasonally adjusted.
The federal government pays 50% of these extended benefits, while the remaining half are funded in the same manner as regular unemployment benefits. In addition, governmental employers are required to pay 100% of extended benefits paid to former employees.
For those receiving Texas unemployment assistance, an extended benefit amount will equal the same amount as their weekly benefit amount under their regular benefits program. Extended benefits will be paid until either the recipient has exhausted all available extended benefits weeks or the state unemployment level falls below the “trigger” level for extended benefits. Texas’ last instance of implementing unemployment extended benefits ended in September of 2021.
If you have exhausted your unemployment benefits and still meet the eligibility conditions to receive compensation in Texas, you might be able to receive extended unemployment benefits by either state or federal unemployment extension programs of Texas.
As of November 2022, Texas no longer offers any unemployment extensions or extended benefits. Extended benefits will return when the Texas unemployment rate gets too high.
Eligibility Requirement for Extended Benefits
To qualify for extended benefits in Texas, an applicant must:
- Have already exhausted all benefits through the state’s regular unemployment benefits program
- Not qualify for regular unemployment benefits either in Texas or in any other state
- Have a base period income that equals at least 40 times the weekly benefit amount or 1.5 times earnings from the highest quarter
- Have no disqualifications associated with the UI record
- Show at least one week within the benefit year that begins in an extended benefits eligibility period
If you qualify for extended benefits, the Texas Workforce Commission will contact you to let you know and to advise on any next steps. You also may find the Texas unemployment calculator helpful in anticipating your benefit amount.
As with regular unemployment assistance, you must be able, available, and actively searching for suitable work while receiving extended unemployment benefits in Texas. However, the details for Texas unemployment job search requirements during an extended benefits period are slightly different. Applicants receiving unemployment extended benefits must search for work each week. Work search activities can include networking, sending out applications, and resumes, and attending job interviews.
You must apply for any position referred to you by the Texas Workforce Commission. You must also use the TWC’s extended benefits job search log to carefully document and submit your efforts – so keep a copy for your records. The TWC requires that you submit your work search log within seven days of the date on which you request benefits.
One of the TWC’s chief requirements for extended benefits, as with regular unemployment benefits, is that you accept any suitable employment that is offered to you.
According to the TWC, a job is suitable if:
- You can physically and mentally perform the tasks associated with the job
- The pay is equal to or greater than your weekly benefit amount or is equal to or greater than the state minimum wage (whichever is greater)
- The position was listed and offered through WorkInTexas.com, MyTXCareer.com, or any Workforce Solutions Office
If you fall out of compliance with any of these criteria – for example, failing to document and submit your work search activities or refusing a suitable job that is offered to you, the TWC may suspend your benefits. You can reinstate them by returning to work for at least four weeks, or earning a minimum of four times your weekly benefit amounts. You must also lose this work through no fault of your own. If all of these criteria are met, the TWC may resume your extended benefits.
Types of Extended Benefit
There are two types of extended unemployment benefits under the Texas Workforce Commission. These programs make it possible for the long-term unemployed to continue receiving monthly assistance while searching for work.
- Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC); and
- Extended Benefits (EB).
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)
Emergency Unemployment Compensation offers an additional number of weeks. Texas currently pays EUC Tiers 1, 2, and 3.
For the Regular UI claim, you will be able to get the benefit for up to 26 weeks.
Tiers of Extended Unemployment Benefits
There are four tiers of unemployment benefits at present. A tier of unemployment is an extension of a definite amount of weeks of jobless benefits. Each tier offers extra weeks of unemployment in addition to basic state unemployment benefits.
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Tiers through September 2012:
- Tier 1: 20 weeks or 80% of your regular claim, whichever is less
- Tier 2: 14 weeks or 54% of your regular claim, whichever is less
- Tier 3: 13 weeks or 50% of your regular claim, whichever is less
You must exhaust each level (Tier) of benefits before applying for an extension.
Tier 1: If you run out of regular benefits by the deadline, TWC mails you a EUC application that you complete and return to TWC. If you are eligible for EUC, TWC mails you a letter showing the amount you are eligible for on your EUC claim.
Tier 2 & 3: If you run out of your prior EUC tier by the deadline, TWC automatically adds the next tier to your claim.
Texas COVID Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Extension
In March 2020, the federal government passed the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide temporary financial relief to those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The relief measures included Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), etc. These programs took effect in March. However, lately, the state of Texas triggered a state extended unemployment benefits program that provides additional 13 weeks of unemployment assistance.
Typically, Texans can receive the benefits for 26 weeks. However, under the extended unemployment benefits program, Texans could collect the payment for 52 weeks.
The extension comes after the previously extended unemployment benefits for 13 weeks under the federal’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) relief measure. The new extension took effect on May 31.
Self-employed workers, gig workers, and independent contractors can collect extended benefits, provided they have exhausted their benefits under the PUA program.
A Closer Look at Extended Pandemic Benefits
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Texas administered several additional programs to help protect workers suffering from pandemic-related unemployment. For the most part, these were federal programs that were instituted at the state level.
Among them were benefits associated with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of March 2020, which stipulated that unemployed workers who were self-employed, seeking part-time work, or for other reasons would not typically qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or federal law could be eligible for some level of financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provided up to 39 weeks of unemployment compensation for workers impacted by COVID-19 and covered those who are self-employed, who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment compensation, or who had exhausted regular state unemployment benefits.
The Texas Workforce Commission also made available assistance through the Pandemic Emergency Compensation Program (PEUC), which was a CARES Act extension of regular unemployment benefits that was available during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to workers who had exhausted their allotted 26 weeks of unemployment compensation without finding work. People in this situation were able to use available weeks of PEUC before needing to qualify for extended benefits.
Texans were able to receive state extended unemployment benefits in the week that ended on July 4, which is 13 weeks after the first extension (PEUC) that took effect in the state. Before collecting their additional 13 weeks of state extended benefits, claimants first had to exhaust their regular 26 weeks and the additional 13 weeks under PEUC.
The federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (PUC or FPUC) was a supplemental unemployment benefit intended to provide additional assistance to recipients of both regular and PUA benefits. For four months during 2020, PUC added $600 to all unemployment recipients’ benefits each week.
This original program expired on July 31, 2020, but was revived with the Continued Assistance Act in December 2020, and again by the American Rescue Plan in March 2021. With this second revision, the weekly supplement was reduced to $300 per week. This additional benefit was intended at the federal level to remain in place through September 6, 2021, though Texas Governor Greg Abbott put an end to Texas’ participation in the program in June of 2021, citing Texas’ improving economy.