Texas Unemployment Application Information

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is being administered by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), whose mission is to help unemployed individuals while they're searching for a new job. This help isn't only of financial assistance, since it also provides skills training or training for a newly opened job position, so you can continue working as soon as you can.

It's important to emphasize that UI benefits can be used by workers who are currently unemployed through no fault on their own. This means in case you quit job or in case you're fired because of your actions or negative performance, you are automatically ineligible. The Texas Workforce Commission will review you case very closely, so it will be clear why your employer decided to let you go. On the other hand, the state of Texas considers using UI benefits illegal in case you're not eligible and you'll be asked to return all of the money you previously received and you'll need to pay a criminal fine.

In case you're eligible, you'll first need to apply. If you get approved, you'll get a chance to collect UI benefits for up to 26 weeks. This is the maximum period in which you must find new employment, but in some cases it can be prolonged and you'll be enrolled with the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC). EUC can last up to 28 weeks and it's actually separated into two tiers. During this period you'll entitled to 54% of your maximum benefit. Still, EUC is considered as a final resort in the case you can't find a job in the times when unemployment rate is too high.

After you've been approved you'll be introduced with a set of rules you'll need to follow in order to be able to continuously collect UI benefits. These are so-called Ongoing Eligibility Requirements which are created so the Texas Workforce Commission can keep track on your effort to find a new employments. There are a total of 7 rules you'll need to follow:

  1. You'll need to make an active search for work.

    This means that you'll need to show that you're doing the best you can during the job search. The first step is usually signing-up with the www.workintexas.com, which is online database of available jobs and you should also register at your local Workforce Solutions office. You can use this website: www.twc.state.tx.us/dirs/wdas/directory-offices-services in order to find your local workforce office.
  2. You need to be available for work.

    This means that you'll need to be ready, willing and able to accept any suitable work position which might present itself. This also means that you'll need to show that you're prepared to start your new job as soon as you get hired. You can show this by having adequate transportation and child care properly arranged.
  3. You also need to be able to work.

    This rule means that eligible individuals need to be able to work full time. In case you're receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) you'll need to report to your local workforce office.
  4. You'll need to register for work search with TWC.

    You'll be obligated to register for work search in a period of 3 business days of filing a claim. Otherwise, TWC will hold you ineligible for any further financial assistance.
  5. You need to be available to TWC.

    You'll be obligated to be always available to TWC in case of a certain questions or new job openings. Failure to respond will result in delay of your UI benefits.
  6. You'll need to request payment for each week of unemployment.

    In general, you'll need to report to your local TWC office every two weeks. In case you don't do this, your benefits will be delayed or denied until you report.
  7. Finally, you'll need to participate in required reemployment activities.

    These activities are created to help you gain new skills which should open new job possibilities.

You will be obligated to report your progress and request payment every two weeks. You can request payment via online application, which could be found here:
www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/unemployment-benefits-services. In case you don't have an internet connection, you can call Tele-Serv service and request your benefits at 800-558-8321 (Sunday through Friday, 7am to 6pm).

Speaking of your UI benefits, there will be two possible ways to collect them and you'll need to choose which way you prefer, right after you get approved. You can choose a direct deposit, or you can sign-up for a debit card.

Direct deposit allows UI enrollees to have financial help deposited into the personal checking or saving account at any U.S. bank or credit union. In case you don't have your own bank account, you can sign-up for one at the same time you apply for Unemployment Insurance enrollment. Other way is to get UI Visa debit card issued on your name. In case you decide to receive money this way, you can expect your Visa card to arrive in a period of 10 days after TWC makes the first payment to JPMorgan Chase Bank. You should also know that you can use this card at any store which accepts Visa card and you can also pay bills online.

Finally, most future UI users are interested in how much money then can receive on a weekly basis. This depends on your previous employment and how much money you've made during the previous five quarters. For example, if you apply sometime in September, 2012 (which is in the third quarter of the current year), your benefits will be based on all your wages for all employers you worked for between April 1st, 2011 and March 31th, 2012.

There's also a very simple online application which is used to calculate your UI benefits and it can be found here:
www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/unemployment-benefits-services

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for Texas Unemployment Insurance (UI) enrollment, you'll need to meet the following requirements:

  • You need to be a U.S. citizen or a legal alien
  • You must have worked in Texas during the past 12 to 18 months
  • You must be currently unemployed and available for work
  • Termination of your previous employment should not be a consequence of your wrongful actions

During the process of reviewing your application, your past wages and your separation from the previous employer will be closely inspected.

To receive unemployment insurance benefits you must have a payable claim. This means that you've had income during the past 12 months, which is called the base period. This base period is, differently said, the first four quarters of the last five completed calendar quarter before you applied for Unemployment Insurance benefits. This is used to calculate the amount of your weekly benefits.

For example, if you apply sometime in September, 2012 (which is in the third quarter of the current year), your benefits will be based on all your wages for all employers you worked for between April 1st, 2011 and March 31th, 2012 (this is your base period). It will be inspected during which quarter you've had highest earning and it will be divided with 25 to get your weekly benefit amount. The state of Texas sets bottom limit for UI benefits to $61 and upper limit is $426.

Another important thing is the reason for separation from your last work. Some qualifying cases are:

  • If you were laid off due the lack of work
  • If you are still working but the employed reduced your hours
  • If you were fired without work-related misconduct which is considered as a violation of company policy
  • If you quit your job for a good well-documented work related or medical reason
  • If you needed to quit your job to move with your husband/wife or with your military spouse (if a permanent change of station if longer than 120 days, or a tour of duty is longer than one year).

Unemployment Application Instructions

You can apply for Unemployment Insurance over the internet or by calling a Tele-Center:

Apply Online

Visit www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/unemployment-benefits-services.html. This is a web application created not only for applying for this program, but this is also where you can review your application process and after you've been applied, this is where you can request payment and submit your work search logs.

The application form is quite intuitive and simple, so it won't take much time to complete it. In case of any problems, you can take a look at the tutorial located at:
www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/bnfts/benefits-tutorial.pdf.

Apply by Phone

In case you don't have an internet connection, you can apply by calling a Tele-Center at (800) 939-6631 (Monday through Friday, 7am to 6pm).

In case you have any questions, or if you'd like to request a payment or to get a status of your claim, you should contact Tele-Serv service at (800) 558-8321 (Sunday through Friday, 7am to 6pm).

What you will need when applying

  • Your Social Security number
  • In case you're not a U.S. citizen you'll need your alien registration number
  • Last employer's contact information (business name and address)
  • First and last dates (month, day and year) you worked for your last employer
  • Number of hours your worked and pay rate in case you worked during the week you're applying
  • In case you served in the military in the past 18 months, you'll need your military employment start and end dates as well as a copy of DD-214 form.

In case you get approved, you'll need to carefully read and sign the terms of UI enrollment, so make sure you take your time and get familiar with your future responsibilities. You'll also need to choose how you want to collect your benefits (if you want to have them deposited on your newly issued debit card or on your own back account). Also remember that you'll have a 3-days period during which you'll need to sign-up for work search with the nearest Workforce Solution office, or online via
www.workintexas.com