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

Updated : December 13th, 2021

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 was fired through no fault of my own in the state of NJ. I was hired to help build an apparel startup. Hired for coming from a corporate background, I would make my professional suggestions on how to improve and develop product as that type of information was always welcomed but unfortunately not utilized. During my time, I’ve repeatedly tried to help the company to avoid costly mistakes in the future when it came to producing apparel, yet my boss preferred to always “wing it” change direction and never follow any type of calendared process. Fast forward and to no surprise to me there is an issue with production and I’m informed with vague information and so as a professional, I remind the owners (again) of the proper protocol that I’ve been suggesting and believing that they finally understood this now. But the understanding was an awakening that was too late (as it seems). Therefore a week later, I was fired as a cut in finances, With no severance, I ask for a confirmation on days worked in order to claim for unemployment due to the financial reduction but then am emailed that due to my decision making that the company lost thousands of dollars and that I didn’t perform my job. I continued to apply for my claim and was denied with allegations that in addition to losing thousands of dollars that I now stole candy (of all things) from the company under footage which is false, and that I watched movies on my phone which was also a false claim. The adjudication office has reached out to me to give me 2 days to reply against the ridiculous allegations and I have replied to all her points of accusations. I had also added more information which I regret now because I was a bit emotional because of the low blows that came my way. Nevertheless, the email had been sent and I am now waiting to see the next steps.
    My question is this. In the state of NJ, what are the next steps for determination?
    Will my former employer read my comments which will only add fuel to the fire (which is true on the additional emotional writing) and then create more lies?
    Have employers gotten away with denying claims by creating false claims?
    This is not what I had expected nor planned to rebuttal in an adjudication.
    I only wanted unemployment pay while I continue to look for work.

  2. I went on medical leave in 2016. I had 2 years of approved leave with pay and benefits. Over the past 2 years, I continued on medical. In May of 2018 my employer tried to terminate for refusing to follow the company doctor’s recommendation to return to work with restrictions in a non hazardous area. I was never informed of where to report or when to report for work. I didn’t even know of the attempted termination until I didn’t receive my bi-weekly payment. I filed a greviance to get my job, pay, and benefits back and was awarded a temporary re-instatement until I had a third party doctor exam. During all of this, I reached my 2 year limit on pay and benefits. Once the 3rd party medical exam was done, the doctor sided with me that there were health reasons for not restoring me to my previous position. But he also agreed with my employer’s company doctor offer of returning to work with restrictions in a non hazardous area. My employer informed me at that time they had no jobs available for me. Since I no longer receive pay or benefits I filed for unemployment. The state said that my employer objected to my request for umeployment on the grounds that I’m weeking fulltime for them and now it has been 6 weeks pending adjudication. I receive no pay no benefits and was told I don’t have a job from my employer. How can they hold up my unemployment pay?

    1. Gil,

      Thank you for writing to us. The outcome of the adjudication depends on the paperwork/documents you submit supporting your stance. Please make sure to prepare well and argue confidently in your favor.

  3. I live in the state of Nevada and had filed for unemployment a few months back in June and was denied because of not earning enough funds in that quarter which show that I’m trying to open a claim on a previous claim considered double dipping. I was told that if I worked and made $1,200 then that would be enough to fulfill and be approved for unemployment claim for the new quarter. I did work a new job started the job as a project assistant for a plumbing company to which the hiring manager knew I had never worked in plumbing but had over 20 years in construction. All in all I worked really hard to understand the plumbing industry but I could never satisfy my supervisors expectations and the last week of me working she basically took ball work from me and kept saying she will handle it even though I would ask every hour or less if there is something that I could do, she kept denying me any work because she was frustrated that I couldn’t do the job is good as she did even though she’s been there for 30 years. I was receiving unemployment funds for the past 3 weeks and suddenly I have to wait till November 2nd for an adjudication meeting and my funds have been placed on hold until then. Can my claim be denied because I could not do the job she expected even though she hired me knowing my previous experience? What should I expect now?

    1. Brooke,

      There is a thin line. It can go against your since expectations were not met or it can also be in your favor for unreasonable demands from your supervisor. If you think you have a strong case, make sure to argue well and present all supporting paperwork.

  4. The state of Oregon UI told my spouse every claim that isn’t due to lack of work now goes through adjudication! Is that true or are they just saying that because she ‘resigned en leiu of termination’ in her trial period? She worked for the state, and didn’t want to be unable to find employment in another department.

    1. Ambrose,

      I don’t know if this is true. How can you confirm? By calling the office again and asking for a different representative to speak to.

    2. Yes, this is true, Oregon will adjudicate any “employment separation” that isn’t due to a lack of work. FYI they’ll also treat a resignation in lieu of termination as her being fired because if your wife’s employer told her “quit or you’ll be fired”, she didn’t really have much of a choice and she was going to lose her job either way.

  5. I was terminated while on Workers Comp. The employer didn’t call me, I was notified a month after the fact by the insurance carrier for the employer! And get this,,,When I opened my UI case to start benefit payments, I notated in the questionnaire that I have a lifting restriction imposed by the Doctor but that I can still physically work and I’m currently available to work….and I was denied UI benefits.
    I’m appealing.

    1. Will,

      I think you should be eligible to collect UI benefits under such circumstances. Please make sure to keep supporting documents handy to support your stance during the Appeal.

  6. I’m currently appealing an availability issue in Massachusetts. I was accepted to a local community college never enrolled and because at the time when I applied I stated I was accepted they denied me. I was laid off due to lack of work it was a temporary position on August 3, 2018. My previous employer I was with 2+years, however I did quit that job which I’m sure doesn’t help my claim, however I’ve submitted everything from my most recent employer including wages which redetermined me eligible. Now I’m appealing my availability… I’ve contacted the college to get verification letter stating I’m not enrolled nor have I ever been but due to their protocols they fought me tooth and nail to get this verification. Stating there’s nothing to send if I’ve never been so there. Last week they finally sent a certified seal enrollment letter that shows I am inactive and never enrolled or registered within that institution. I think it was to stop me from constantly contacting them. Will this help remove the availability disqualification? Also are availability cases easier to resolve?

    1. Lily,

      To offer a straightforward answer to your question, if you lost the previous job due to involuntary reasons (no fault of yours), you should be eligible to collect.

      1. So I just got my Late Appeal decision after sending in all necessary information as to why I was filing late pertaining to being offered a temporary job. The decision states DETERMINED.

        Not exactly sure what that implies. I’m assuming the worst though. Since no adjudicator ever called me. Can you please clarify?

        1. Lily,

          I suggest you call the Claims Center to find out the status. It more or less means the “Determination” process is now complete.

      2. UPDATE: I called the claims center to clarify the adjudicator’s decision they stated that it means I found eligible for the Late Appeal regarding my availability. The representative also stated that its very strange to be appealing a one party decision ( thus meaning appealing just myself.) Will I still have to continue with this hearing since my enrollment verification proves with a certified seal inactivity and no enrollment has ever been made? Are availability appeals easier to win since its not a wage or reason for termination I am appealing?

        1. Lily,

          This seems like a complicated situation. I suggest you ring up the adjudicator and consult him/her on further steps.

  7. my adjutication was removed and my case still says that im eligble and active does that mean the ruled in my favor ?

    1. Jeannette,

      That is correct. The authorities might have ruled in your favor and ruled out the need for an adjudication. Please call the office for clarification.

  8. After working at various jobs over the course of 24 years and never being fired,I finally was recently. The reason was arguing with a manager because she was unprofessional and baited me into a argument and I signed the statement she wrote against me before I left and now I wonder will the unemployment official side in my favor over me signing the statement..

    1. Jason,

      If you’re able to prove your position preferably with supporting documents, you should be able to collect UI benefits.

  9. Can you be denied unemployment after being terminated for allegedly making a customers grocery bags too heavy. Customer made a complaint that I packed her bags too heavy. When I had only put 4-6 items in each bag. This occurred while I worked for Meijer.

    1. That sounds like an awful reason to terminate employment. Please consider applying for UI benefits until you find employment. You may want to speak to the Unemployment Office in your state once before applying. Please call them.

  10. I moved to NC for a Job the employer begged for me to work for him. The job is 1 hour away. I got sick one day driving there and went to work and told the girl I was working with that I was sick and may need to go home so I call the the staffing lady and the own and told them I’m sick and I’m going home they said OK. Next day get a text saying I’m off for the next 2 think they could not find anyone to work with me see my tech went on vacation. When my tech came back from vacation they told her she will be working alone she sent me the text I was shocked because now it’s two weeks with out work I’m a fulltime worked get a w2 at the end of the year. I work the own stating what is going on why you not having me work I said I will have to file unemployment no response. Umployment told them I walked off the job when the all said I called them when I was leaving stating I was sick and they sent Umployment the call off work text they sent me its been 6 weeks and no amswer on my unemployment case help if you can

    1. Lace,

      Unemployment Insurance benefits are extended to those who lose their job due to involuntary reasons. If you think this was the case, please consider filing until you find employment. Make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute.

  11. I filed for unemployment in florida but then moved to Georgia, after I was unable to obtain a job in Florida. I was hired at amazon in Florida but have already moved to Georgia and receiving unemployment at the time. The unemployment is now adjudicating because it picked up that I was a new hire at Amazon but I Couldn’t work for Amazon seeing how I moved out of Florida before I was hired. It has now been eight weeks of claiming with a hold on my funds what will happen next?

    1. Ernest,

      If you still remain unemployed, you should be able to continue claiming UI benefits. Since you’ve moved to Georgia, you can consider transferring your claim over to the new state.

  12. I worked a 3 yr contract with an employment firm. That contract ended unexpectantly and I filed unemployment. The employer called me with 2 jobs. one of the jobs was at the company that I just left and the company had a 6-month wait and I was unsure if I could return to the company. I expressed this to the employer and they said that they would check to see if I could return to the employer. I was trying to avoid rejection/embarrassment for myself and the employer. I was submitted for 2 jobs.

    The employer filed a protest saying I had refused work. I spoke with the adjudicator. (Who called me a day earlier than our call) It turns out two jobs that of the two jobs they said I had refused. they had submitted me for one and the other was the job aforementioned. the employer never got back in touch with me and I eventually applied for the job.

    The adjudicator told me that I would receive two letters in the mail in 5 -7 business days and told me to keep certifying.

    Any idea where this is landing. The employer did not tell the truth and I sent documented information to our phone call. The adjudicator said that they had cancellations and that was why he was calling a day early.

    Any ramifications for the employer not telling the truth.

    1. It’s the time to make a strong case for yourself. Chase the adjudicator at regular intervals and submit the required documents in your support.

  13. I finally got the courage to do this as I now get Social Security but I doubt things have changed. Years ago when I was working I had a sales job and they did all sorts of sexist crap. They would not pay the spiffs to females. They called you names over the intercom. They would break things on products ordered and picked up by customers. People knew about it but would not come forth. When you saw something illegal going on that you were not supposed to see, you got fired. The employer lied about you to the DES and they even lied to future employers so that you never had respect once you worked at their place. The so called judges as your hearings admonished you for speaking out but there was nothing to be done unless others backed you up and they were afraid for their jobs. This still goes on. For the most part it is women judges doing the bidding of male employers. Some of these women should be asking themselves questions about the lives of others they were complicit in destroying. There never was any recourse for sexual harassment and discrimination and there still is not. Have any of these female judges ever thought to require further proofs from the employers. Has any judge ever compelled the employer to proof of sales or production exceeded by the women who have been fired? That would be the most telling. When other situations arise and the female employee has been with the company for more than five years, have any of these judges had the sense to ask if the person lasted with you that long and their last evaluation was superior enough to merit a raise, why do you all of a sudden doubt the employee? There is no common sense to these horrible women and they are there as judges because of their stupidity. The system is geared to protect only the rights of the employer so don’t be down on yourselves if you find yourself a victim because if the employer loses then you have a case! DES judges are paid to destroy people.

  14. Please contact me I’m going to be homeless loose vehicle they are holding my unemployment and I don’t know why I’ve been doing everything and more I’m a cancer patient and have to get to my therapy today I can’t go cause my trucks out of gas and no money

    1. Jerome,

      Hope you get out of this situation soon. Please let us know how we can help you. This is a private forum and our help can be limited. If you’re referring to Unemployment Insurance, please call the Claims Center for further inquiry.

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