FileUnemployment

Texas – All You Need To Know When You’re Unemployed

Author : William

Updated : June 12th, 2019

If you have lost your job through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits. These benefits provide temporary financial help to eligible individuals, based on their previous earnings, while they are seeking a new job.

Unemployment Benefits In TX

Unemployment benefits are offered through an insurance program run together by the federal government and the state.

Know About Unemployment Benefits In TX

Filing for unemployment can be a quite confusing task. You should have complete information about unemployment benefits including how to apply, eligibility requirements, weekly benefit amount, important phone numbers and much more. If you presently reside in Texas, and you have worked in the state during the past 18 months prior to applying for unemployment, you must consider filing for benefits anytime online or call the TWC (Texas Workforce Commission) Tele-Center to supplement your income until you find a new job.

Who Qualifies for Unemployment Benefits?

TWC assesses your unemployment benefits in each of the following areas to qualify for unemployment benefits:

  • Past wages requirements
  • Reason for unemployment
  • Available to work

Past Wages Requirements

Texas requires that you meet a certain minimum income to be eligible for unemployment benefits. You must have documented evidence of wages in at least 2 of the 4 base period (The first 4 of the last 5 complete calendar quarters before the start date of your unemployment claim) quarters. Moreover, your total wages in the base period must be 37 times your weekly benefit amount. If you have previously applied for benefits, you must have made at least 6 times your new weekly benefit amount since that time.

If you were jobless for at least seven weeks during the base period owing to injury, illness, pregnancy or disability, you might be eligible to use an alternate period. If you meet the requirements under both base periods, you choose which base period to use.

Reason for Unemployment

You must be either unemployed or work reduced hours through no fault of your own to be qualified for benefits. If you are out of work in a layoff, being fired for reasons other than misconduct, lost your job because of a reduction-in-force (RIF) and downsizing, or quit a job with good cause related to work, you may still be eligible for benefits.

Examples of quitting for good work-related reasons:

  • Risky working conditions
  • Significant changes in hiring agreement
  • Not getting paid or difficulty getting your agreed-upon pay

You may also be qualified for unemployment benefits if:

  • You left your job due to domestic violence or stalking
  • You were forced to quit your job rather than be fired
  • You chose to move with your military spouse
  • You are caring for a minor child who has a medical illness
  • You are caring for a terminally ill spouse
  • You entered Commission-Approved Training and the job is not considered suitable under Section 20 relating to your availability for work, active search for work or refusal to accept suitable work

Available to Work

Along with the past wages and job separation eligibility requirements, you must also meet other requirements to stay eligible.

This means that you must:

  • Register with Texas Workforce Commission and apply for a certain number of jobs per week.
  • Document your work search activities, which can be asked by TWC at any time.
  • Apply for and accept suitable full-time work.

How to Apply?

  • You can apply online at Unemployment Benefits Services.
  • Call the Tele-Center at 800-939-6631. The office hours are Monday-Friday from 7AM-6PM central time. You can  use the contact numbers available on our website.

Unemployment-in-Texas

You should be prepared with the following information prior to filling out the application:

  • Your previous employer’s business name, address and phone number
  • The first and last dates (month, day and year) you worked for your last employer
  • Provide the most recent employment dates, if you worked for your previous employer on more than one occasion
  • Number of hours worked and pay rate you received for the last week of your job (Sunday through Saturday)
  • Alien Registration Number (if not a US citizen)
  • Social Security Number (SSN) (if a US citizen)
  • Information regarding your last payment wages

After completing your application, you must wait for at least 2 business days for the TWC to assess your application prior to checking the status of your unemployment claim. You should register for work online within 3 days of filing for unemployment.

Request your Benefits Payment

Once you have been approved for your benefits, the following step is receiving your payments. Your payments are either directly deposited into your bank account or made by the TWC Visa Card.

By default, your payments will be deposited to the TWC debit card unless you sign up for a direct deposit. You must wait for 1 business day after you apply for unemployment benefits to change your payment options.

You can change your payment option online or by phone.

  • Log on and select Payments Option from the Quick Links menu
  • Call Tele-Serv at 800-558-8321 and select option 5

Note: If you sign up for direct deposit you will have to provide your 9 digit routing number, bank account number and type.

How to Know the Status of Your Application?

Requests for unemployment benefits are processed in about 4 weeks from the date you file for benefits. This time is used to gather information on your past wages, job separation and general eligibility. You can check the status of your claim online or call Tele-Serv at 800-558-8321 and select option 2.

How Much Will You Get?

Every state in the US has its own rules for computing unemployment benefits.

Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is the amount you collect for weeks you are qualified for benefits. In Texas, your WBA is the wages in the highest paid quarter of the base period divided by 25. Presently, the maximum you can collect is $479 and the minimum amount you can receive is $65 per week based on your past wages.

Your maximum benefit amount (MBA) is the total sum you can collect during your benefit year (the 12 month period that your unemployment claim is in effect). Your MBA is either 26 times your WBA or 27% of all your wages in the base period (whichever is less). You must be partially or totally unemployed and meet the eligibility criteria.

Your benefit year starts on the Sunday of the week in which you applied for benefits and stays for 52 weeks. Your benefit year remains in effect for those dates even though TWC disqualifies you to collect all of your benefits. You may exhaust your unemployment benefits before your benefit year expires.

You can use our free tool to estimate your approximate unemployment benefits before applying. You will require wage information for the past five quarters and the pay period information for the past five quarters.

Working and Receiving Benefits

If you work temporarily, you can earn up to 25% of your weekly benefit amount before TWC reduces your benefit payment. For instance, if your WBA is $160, you may receive $40 without a reduction. If you earn $50, your WBA for the week is reduced to $150. In both the cases your benefits and your earnings equal $200. If you earn more than $200 and working the customary permanent hours for your profession, you are not eligible to collect benefits for that week.

TWC investigates any job separation you have while receiving benefits to decide whether you can continue to collect benefits.

How to Keep Receiving Unemployment Benefits?

You must be partially or totally unemployed and meet the following requirements to continue to be eligible for benefits.

  • Meet all work search requirements, unless exempted from work search
  • Request payment for weeks of unemployment, when scheduled
  • Be physically and mentally able and available to work
  • Participate in reemployment activities as required
  • Respond to requests from TWC or a Workforce Solutions office as instructed

How Long Will Your Unemployment Benefits Last?

In Texas, you can collect benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. There are two programs that offer additional weeks of benefits in times of high unemployment: extended benefits (EB) and emergency unemployment compensation (EUC).

At this time, there are no extended benefits available in Texas. TWC last paid extended benefits under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, which ended on December 28, 2013.

Possibility of a Benefit Extension:

TWC pays federal extended benefits only when the U.S. Congress passes legislation to create a federal benefits extension program. All potential recipients are notified by TWC if an extension is available.

Denied Unemployment Benefits?

If your claim for benefits is denied by the state of Texas, you may choose to appeal. You can submit your written appeal online, fax or mail to the Appeals Department and in person at your nearest Workforce Solutions office. You cannot submit your appeal over the telephone or by email.

Your appeal letter should include:

  • Your name
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your current address
  • The date TWC mailed you the Determination Notice
  • A copy of the Determination Notice, if possible
  • Any dates on which you will not be able to join in a hearing
  • Please keep a copy of your appeal for your records

Mail, fax or deliver your appeal to:

Mail: Appeal Tribunal

Texas Workforce Commission

101 E 15th St, Room 410

Austin, TX 78778-0001

Fax: 512-475-1135

There are 3 levels of appeal-

You can write a notice (within 14 days) to the Appeal Tribunal of the TWC. If you differ from the results of the Appeal Tribunal, you may appeal to the Commission. An attorney is not needed for the appeal process. You may apply for a rehearing and appeal to a civil court if you disagree with the Commission and present the following:

  • Important new information about your case
  • The reason(s) why you did not present this information earlier
  • The reason(s) why you think this information could change the decision

You may appeal to a civil court between 15 and 28 days after the TWC mailed you the Commission Appeal decision.

Unemployment Benefits Fraud is Punishable by Law!

Unemployment insurance fraud can be charged if you illegally file for benefits. In Texas, unemployment benefits fraud is regularly prosecuted at the felony level. Penalties may include fines of up to $4,000 or jail up to one year or both, loss of benefits received, and the right to benefits that remain in your benefit year. Unemployment fraud can happen if you misreport previous income, fail to seek a new job, lie on an application or do not report an income source.

Examples of UI Fraud could include:

  • You start work and do not accurately report your work and work hours
  • You do not report gross earnings accurately
  • You do not report a job separation
  • You do not keep your Tele-Serv Personal Identification Number (PIN) or Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS) password protected and someone requests benefits using your personal information
  • You request payment of unemployment benefits while incarcerated
  • You use another person’s identity to apply for benefits

If convicted of unemployment fraud, you must pay back benefits that you were not eligible to receive and a 15% penalty on benefits you illegally received. The Texas Unemployment Compensation Act (TUCA) is the legal basis for initiating a civil suit against you for the collection of past due benefit overpayments.

DO NOT contact TWC via email. Instead, you may report any allegations by calling the TWC Fraud Hotline at 800-252-3642.

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  1. I applied for unemployment on 8-1 and was approved. I received my letter of eligibility and debit card about a week ago. I did not file my intitial bi weekly claim because I missed the deadline by 1 day (didn’t realize they would be closed on Saturday). When I logged on it said I would have to reopen a claim because mine had been closed. I filled out the online form to deactivate the claim. My question is this: will I have another waiting week? And will unemployment have to contact my employer all over again to verify my wages and go through the entire process all over again or will they just reopen the claim with a new date window to file?

  2. Lost my job in 10/2018 due to plant closure, collected vacation and severance pay. Opened a claim in 1/2019. Got an on the job training job through career link in 5/2019 worked one week and became very sick and was off for two weeks VA could not find anything wrong but gave me medication for the symptoms and an excuse to return to work, prior to returning got a call from my recruiter at career link telling me the position was filled so i did not return. Reopened my claim, a few weeks later got a letter informing me the employer had appealed and said i did not return, had a hearing and the employer did not show but i lost and got a 2500.00 over payment. Got a temp job through an agency but have only worked 4 days in two weeks. Reopened my claim and was told i need to earn 2604.00 from current employer before it can be opened, did i do something wrong? Still applying for work but am days away from losing everything, need income to pay bills. PLEASE HELP

    1. Rodney,

      Your eligibility to claim UI benefits depends on multiple factors including monetary eligibility. If you’ve been officially told about the shortage of earnings, there’s nothing much one can do. If you’re still confident of winning the appeal, please make a strong case.

      1. I live in KY but my base wages were from earnings in GA when I lived there. I’ve exhausted my benefits in KY. Am I able to now file through GA since my earnings through 10/18 came from there?

        1. Dee,

          As much as I am aware, Unemployment Insurance is a one time cycle. Please call the Unemployment Office in GA for more.

  3. The hours at work have been cut due to lack of business for every department.
    So all full-time positions are now part-time.
    How do I file for partial unemployment?
    The only options I see (in Texas) are for full unemployment.

    1. Eric,

      You should be able to claim partial UI benefits. Please consider applying online until full hours are restored.

    1. William,

      If everything goes well, it should not take more than 7-10 business days (waiting week). Please call the Claims Center for more.

  4. I was employed by a VA company for 5 years, my contract ended yesterday (07/31/19), however, I worked remotely for those 5 years and live in FL, which state do I apply to for my unemployment benefits?

    1. Oscar,

      Please check with your employer if they remitted UI taxes into the system. Contract workers are generally not eligible.

        1. Oscar,

          In that case, please go ahead and apply if your employer remitted UI taxes into the system.

    2. You apply in Virginia…however, I worked seasonally and they used a ‘quarter’ that was empty, so even though my employer paid in, I only got a 1/3 of what I should have received. Figured that out later :/ They will also question WHY you aren’t able and available to work IN Virginia. They froze my account for about a month.

  5. I worked 37 years with the same company in Texas. On July 2nd of 2018, I was let go due to workforce reduction. I signed up for benefits several months later and now have drawn my 26 weeks of benefit. Is there any program currently open in Texas or federally that will extend additional money while job seeking?

    1. Lonnie,

      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.

  6. I have been an employee of my company for 34 yrs. My position is being eliminated but I have been offered another position for less money. It is a much more physical job that I am not sure I can perform well. I am 75. If I try to fulfill the position and cannot do it, will I still be able to get benefits if I quit? They want me to try it for a couple of weeks to see if I am strong enough and if I can afford the cut in pay.

    1. Lynda,

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office to find out about eligibility before making a decision on continuation.

      1. I recently lost my job..i was late for work and they took me off the schedule..never told me i was fired..didnt ask for uniforms back. Another cook was andd has been late for work and he didnt get taken off the schedule.can i still get unemployment?

        1. Kandie,

          Please note UI benefits are only offered to claimants who lose employment due to no fault of their own. You can call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  7. Are there any training benefits or programs that will pay for an advanced degree, such as a PhD which is needed to become more employable?

    1. There are multiple training programs administered by the Labor Department in each state. For more info, please call visit the official website of the Unemployment Office.

  8. I’m about to exhaust my Unemployment benefits. I was laid off from my first job and
    found employment then I lost my job and became unemployed again. I applied for benefits and have have almost exhausted my benefits but have not found employment. Can I file for an extension?

    1. Deanna,

      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.

  9. After reading your article it’s still not clear to me about requirements surrounding moving to another state and completing/continuing to collect. I have 8 weeks eligibility left, I am moving from MA to FL. The end of your article says: “Since it’s all virtual (online), you may still consider the option of continuing your claims from the base state even if you move to a different one until completion. As a responsible claimant, it’s your duty to inform the base state about your movement to ensure there are no hassles in the near future.”

    So it sounds like even once I am in new state I am eligible to continue to collect from my base state. I can just continue to do my required weekly job search and reporting to and filing in my base state (I do it via phone call-in). No need to complicate things by doing some crazy state transfer of benefits. Benefits also done via direct bank deposit and no need to change anything. Do I even need to tell my base state I am now living in a new state? Why? Thank you.

    1. Paul,

      For the ease of understanding, each state has its specific rules and laws with regard to administering Unemployment Benefits. It might be an obligation for a claimant to inform about the movement. For clarification, please call the Unemployment Office and speak to a representative.

  10. I was recently fired from my work 25-June-2019/due to me not meeting their “standards/ expectations” i submitted my UE claim on 28-June and have not received any pay as of today, 19-July. The status is currently “adjudication in progress,” my question is, should i be worried this will be denied? I read the FAQ on the UE webpage and it said only a couple applications require the adjudication process. How long does this process usually take to get the final answer of whether I’m denied or approved? The website stated it susuallt takes ~25 days for the adjudication process, does this mean once that’s done then i still have to wait another 2-6 weeks for final processing after? THANK YOU SOO MUCH to whomever is able to provide me with some answers/ input.

    Sincerely,
    Talia
    ** this is my first time ever being fired or having to file for unemployment so i really have nooooo idea what is standard or normal or whatever. I feel like an idiot with my simple questions but it would bring me so much relief having them answered, truly

    1. Talia,

      I can understand your reason for the anxiety. Adjudication is a fact-finding process where both the claimant and the employer will get an opportunity to present their case. During this process, make sure to produce supporting documents that amplify your stance. For all you know, the adjudication can be a lengthy process.

      Best Wishes!

  11. I was permanently severanced from my job due to a Co. Reorg & received my last severance pay last week. I called UE & was told that I should now do my application online since I will no longer be getting funds & still without a job & that this coming Sunday regardless of knowing if I will or will not get benefits yet that I should still file a weekly claim in case of UE back pay.
    So my question is, do I still have to report 4 jobs applied to within this week, even if I do not know if I will be approved/denied for benefits until possibly next week anyway?

    1. Lynda,

      You should continue to report the job applications as long as you’ve been asked to do so. There will be a “Waiting Period” and the first payment will take about 7-10 days after which they’ll flow much quicker. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  12. I tried to transfer from one state to another. When I left Montana I was told there would be no problem transferring. When I arrived in North Carolina I had trouble reaching the area manager by phone. When he finally called me back he said to meet him for lunch to discuss when and where I would be working. He did not show up for lunch. Then he never returned any of my calls. I went PA to visit a friend a few weeks later and tried there. I met with the hiring manager and was told there should not be a problem doing the transfer since I was still in the system. I called the store a few times and they said it was still pending. Then I was terminated without even a phone call. Am I eligible for unemployment and if so do I file in Montana or North Carolina. I still have a Montana drivers license but I am living in NC.

    1. Stacey,

      As long as you were unemployed involuntarily, you should be able to claim UI benefits. Please consider applying.

  13. I have worked for 32+ years and recently have become unable to work due to health reasons, so I have had to resign from my job. I have contacted SS and will be able to apply for disability but it will take awhile to process. Can I apply for unemployment benefits? I live in WV.

    1. Sandra,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for more.

  14. I had to quit my job at Walmart in Fairmont West Virginia and moved back to my home state ky, I’ve got a son with drug problems and 3 older sisters that are not doing so well in health cause of their age. I didn’t understand about the transfer part they had at Walmart that I could put a date when I could start back because of my car problems I thought when I left I had to go in like in s few days, I’ve applied here at Walmart in Winchester ky 40391 two times already plus dollar store, speedway, truck stop, bp, a few other places it’s been going on 7 months without a job I live with my son and its getting harder on him paying rent and utilities and food, not to mention our personal hygiene stuff I really need help I have no income coming in to help him and his wife out I get foodstamps and Medicaid I was praying I could qualify for unemployment PLEASE HELP!!!

    1. Vicky,

      I can understand your situation. Unfortunately, UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for further clarification.

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