Texas Unemployment – Know Your Rights Today

Filing for unemployment can be a somewhat confusing task. You have to make sure you know all of the eligibility requirements, important phone numbers, and much more. If you’re considering filing for unemployment in Texas, it is very important that you take note of all the information below to ensure that you can Seal of Texassuccessfully receive your benefits with little to no delay.


The Texas Unemployment Compensation Act, Title 4, Subtitle A of the Texas Labor Code outlines the guidelines and rules for receiving Texas unemployment benefits. The requirements fall under three main categories (reason for unemployment, past wages, and your current search for employment). These requirements are as follows:

  • Reason for Unemployment: The reason for your unemployment must be through no fault of your own (i.e. laid off from lack of work hours, quit job for medical issues, etc.) If you were terminated for a non-work related violation you may still be eligible.
  • Past Wages:You must have documented proof of wages for at least two of your base calendar quarters. Also, your total base period wages must be 37 times your weekly benefit amount. If you have previously applied for benefits, you must have earned at least 6 times your new weekly benefit amount since the last time you qualified for benefits. For example:
    • You filed for unemployment in January 2013
    • You file for unemployment again in July 2013
    • You get approved for $300 a week
    • Between January 2013 and July 2013 you have to have earned at least $1800
    • Current Employment Search: To receive ongoing benefits you must actively search for work every week, be willing and able to work full time, accept suitable work, and be registered at http://workintexas.com.

You must meet all of the requirements above in order to qualify for benefits. If you have any questions regarding whether or not you meet the criteria, you may call Tele-Center toll free at 800-939-6631.

How to Apply

One of the biggest advantages you have in filing for unemployment in Texas is that you’re able to complete the application online with the Texas Workforce Commission by visiting http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/unemployment-benefits-services.html. Optionally, you may contact the Tele-Center office at 800-939-6631. The office hours are Monday-Friday from 7AM-6PM central time.

Prior to filling out the application it’s a great idea to have all of the necessary paperwork by your side because you will be required to provide a good deal of personal information to help verify your application. The information you will be asked for includes:

  • Name and address of your last place of employment
  • Beginning and ending date of your last employer
  • Information regarding you last payment wages
  • Number of hours worked and pay rate if you worked during the same week you’re applying for unemployment
  • Alien Registration Card (for non U.S. citizens)

In order to apply for benefits online, you will need to set up an online account. This is simple and can be done at http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/unemployment-benefits-services.html.

It’s important to note that after your application has been submitted you will not be able to edit anything. If for any reason you need to make a change you must call the Tele-Center the next business day at 1-800-939-6631 to see if anything can be done.

After the Application

Once you have completed your application, you must allow at least 2 business days for the TWC to review your application before you check on the status of your unemployment claim.

You must register for work online at www.workintexas.com or at a Texas Workforce Center within 3 days of filing for unemployment.


Receiving your benefits

Once you’ve been approved for your unemployment benefits, the next step will be to start receiving your payments. You have two options for getting your payments.

1: Direct Deposit into your Bank Account

2: TWC Visa Debit Card

By default, your payments will be made via the TWC Visa card. In order to receive direct deposit, you must request it at www.ui.texasworkforce.org. You will need your 9 digit routing number and your bank account number. This information can be found at the bottom of your checks or you can contact your bank. You have to wait 1 business day after you apply for unemployment in order to change your payment options.

How Much Can I get?

The amount of benefits you receive will depend upon a few factors. The TWC relies on your base salary mostly. Your weekly benefits will range from $61-$426 depending on the amount you earned at your previous employer. Once you’ve been granted your benefits you will receive a Statement of Benefits that outlines your potential payment amount. You can claim your benefits 10-26 weeks.

You can use the benefits estimator to see what your potential benefits will be:



If you’re ever in a situation where you disagree with the ruling of the Texas Workforce Commission, you have the ability to petition for an appeal. The TWC has a 3 step appeals process that includes:

1: Appeal to the Appeal Tribunal: Fax or mail your appeal letter to the TWC appeals office. You cannot email an appeal. If you have any questions in regards to appeals email [email protected].

  • Fax number: (512) 475-1135
  • Address:

AT Appeals Department
Texas Workforce Commission
101 E. 15th Street, Room 410
Austin, Texas 78778

2: Appeal to the TWC: If you’re not satisfied with the AT you may file an appeal with the TWC within 14 days of receiving the decision of the AT. You must fax/mail this letter as well. In your appeals letter you should include your name, SSN, address, date the TWC mailed you the decision letter (include a copy of the letter if possible), and must be signed and dated.

  • Fax number: (512) 475-2044
  • Address:

CA Appeals Department
Texas Workforce Commission
101 E. 15th Street, Room 678
Austin, Texas 78778

3: Motion for rehearing/Appeal to civil court: Your final option in the appeals process is to motion for a rehearing within 14 days of receiving the decision from the TWC. In order to get the rehearing, you must be able to show that you have new pertinent information about your case, explain why you did not submit this information before, and why you think this information will affect the decision. You may also appeal to your local civil court 15-28 days after receiving the TWC decision letter.

Useful Resources

If you have any questions regarding Texas unemployment benefits, you may contact the Texas Workforce Commission. Here are some links that should help you:

Texas Workforce Commission

Website: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/

State Phone Number: 512-463-2222

Email: fill out form here https://services.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/contactUs.do

WFC Offices: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/dirs/wdas/wfc_list.pdf

List of Workforce Development Boards: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/dirs/wdbs/wdbweb.html

Find the Nearest WFC office near you: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/dirs/wdas/directory-offices-services.html

Request payments, get payment info, get general information, or check on the status of a claim:

Tele-Serv: 800-558-8321

  • Live service available Monday-Friday from 7AM-6PM Central time
  • Automated message available 24/7

Customer service

Tele-Center: 800-939-6631

  • Monday-Friday 7AM-6PM Central Time



Benefits Chase Debit Card Support
Phone: 866-865-1273
Web: http://www.chase.com

Find Jobs in Texas

Unemployment Insurance

Texas Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)


  • What is going on? I have waited 4 to 6 weeks time period and no response i am now a little over 6 weeks and Iam freaking out. I cant just go work at a temp service w/o money I cant afford child care for my son.

  • James

    If you resign from a job and start working for a new job and they then lose a contract and lay low seniority people off is there a time limit you must work for the new company before you can file for unemployment? I would be drawing benefits from the base year with the old job. Also if you are receiving unemployment can you work part time and continue to receive benefits? Thanks.

    • In TX, you need to have worked 6 weeks at the new job or earned 6x your weekly benefit amount. You can work part-time, but generally because your gross earnings are an offset to the unemployment benefit, you are working for only a few dollars an hour. The states differ in how they calculate your benefit when you work part-time. TX says this on its partial benefit:

      TWC computes how much a claimant can earn before we deduct those earnings from their weekly benefit amount plus 25%. Claimants who earn more than their weekly benefit amount plus 25% cannot receive benefits for that week.

      Which means if your weekly benefit is normally $300, when you work TX grosses up the weekly benefit 25% to $375, and then deducts your gross part-time earnings from that.

  • Haeso

    My unemployment year has ended but I still have a balance and have not exhausted the funds. What happens to the funds? Do I refile for a claim or how do I get the rest of my money?

    • Benefits are use it or lose it within the benefit year. You cannot access those expired benefits any longer. If you have worked since you first filed, however, apply for a new claim. These new earnings will allow TX to use the LAG (unused wages) from the earlier claim as a basis for the new claim.

  • Lucien Franscini

    Is it necessary to keep filing claims when you are working enough hours part time to earn more each week than your benefit amount? I work contract w2 jobs that are either feast or famine. As a result, each year I file new UI claims for reduced hours. The employer(s) never have any heartburn about my filing and I have always been able to collect my full benefits each year. It is a bit annoying to look for work when you are busy working 30+ hours on a regular basis, but it is still not considered full time. In the past, I have always reported earnings but sometimes stated that no work searches were performed. As a result, my claims every two weeks are denied either for earning too much income or not performing enough work searches. My guess is that it is best to perform the work searches and be disqualified only due to total earnings. I know there are others out there that are underemployed due to the trends of “on demand” employers while filing UI claims. Thanks for your help!

    • An easier way is to only file for benefits for the weeks in which you work less than 30 hours and earn less than your weekly benefit. Normally, when no benefits are paid for whatever reason, the claim is closed and you need to call TX to reopen the claim the beginning of the week you expect low or no earnings. Most states do an investigation when income stops and claims are reopened.

      In answer to your Q, no you don’t need to file every week – but if there is some quirk in the TX system which allows continued claiming and payment of a benefit even after weeks of no benefits paid, continued claiming might be worth it as opposed to the couple of weeks required to investigate a reopened claim.

  • Phil

    I lived out of state for most of my adult life. I have been working in Texas for about 6 months am I still eligible to receive unemployment? It was no fault of my own, I just want to know if I am able to get benefits, I have applied, but the person said they weren’t sure if I would get unemployment benefits even though I worked here for 6 months. What is the truth on this? Oh in my last state I worked as an independent contractor so I know I can’t go back on Ohio to get benefits. So what are my chance of getting unemployment?

    • TX requires you have earnings in two quarters of your base period. If you apply now, your base period includes earnings July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016. You are not allowed to use an alternate base period which would include earnings through September 30, 2016 unless you have been disabled.

      If you wait another six weeks until January 2017 to apply for benefits, TX can include earnings through September 30, 2016.

      Unless TX finds other earnngs in the above base period, TX will deny you at this time. If you are denied for lack of earnings, reapply in January.

      More info – TX handbook, here – see pp. 5-6:


  • AJ

    Any advice to the following question would be appreciated.

    I work for a construction company based outside of the state, however, the company was hired to represent the owner on a construction site based in Texas. The owner of the construction site has decided to close the project down and due to this I will not have a jobs to work at but am still considered “employed” by the construction company I work for. I am from Texas and don’t wish to move out of state. However, the company I work for has offered me a suitable position, however, it is located in another state.

    If I turn down the position out of state and consequently let go by the company I work for, am I still eligible to apply for unemployment?

    • Yes, provided this new work is an unreasonable distance from where you live. If this new work is across the state line but a reasonable distance from where you live, the fact that it is in another state doesn’t matter.

  • Lee

    I applied for UB on Sept 30th and I am now coming on six weeks with no response. I was fired due to calling out for being sick. I had six points accumulated towards attendance while company policy allows for 8 before termination. Every time I call Telecenter no one has any idea what is going on and to keep waiting. How long am I supposed to wait when the handbook says it takes four weeks to get a decision?

  • Maegan

    I applied for UB on Oct 7, 2016 due to the temporary agency telling me my contract ended. It was told to me not be them but an employee at the job site I was at. My job ended on sept. 30, 2016. I have been calling every week that i am available and still have not a heard anything. How will I know if the temp agency is being honest about call ins and reason for giving me another job. I have had trouble with the temp agency since I started. Anyways It is now the 26th of Oct and I still havent heard anything from UI. Im have been doing my job searches but I have not heard anything. What is the process for investigation? When will i hear back from them?

    /Thank you,

    • You need to keep a log of all telephone calls to the agency, with name of person with whom you spoke. Also, follow up those phone calls with emails so you have a paper trail if you are asked.

      Has TX at least acknowledged your application for benefits? Two and one-half weeks is not a long time for claims processing. Normal time from application to payment of benefits is four weeks.

      Have you tried calling TX to ascertain status?? It may be the agency hasn’t responded to TX, in which case TX can certainly approve the claim, as employer is not cooperating. Normally, TX is efficient with its processing. You should have an approval, or at least have heard about an interview if TX needs one, within two-three weeks after application.

      If you are unable to get through to anyone at TX and another week passes without any word from Texas, then send an email to your state representative. Find your representative, here:


      He will contact TX and TX will move on your claim.

  • NelM

    What is considered suitable distance according to TWC? Will I lose my UI benefits if I refuse an offer that is 34 miles away?

    • Probably not, IF that distance is outside normal commuting patterns for your area and type of work. TX says this:

      The distance to work from your home and local commuting patterns

      Many states use 30 miles as the cutoff. TX, otoh, does not designate a set number of miles. In other words, if you are living on a ranch 30 miles away from anything, I would imagine TX would not consider a 34-mile commute excessive. If, on the other hand, you are in an urban area with readily available employment nearby, previously never traveled more than fifteen or twenty miles to work, more than 30 miles may be considered unsuitable for you and a good reason to refuse the work.

  • Mechelle

    I am still waiting on a decision from TWC. It’s been almost 4 weeks. I got laid off and my past employer didnt dispute and told me he replied back to them right away. How long do I have to wait to get my first check or even an email saying I am eligible? I’m am looking for work but I need to pay the mortgage!!

    • Sounds like there’s an issue with this separation. Call them. If TX had any questions on the separation, at the very least it should have scheduled an interview by now. If you can’t get through to TX, email your state representative to get TX off the mark. You’ll hear from him immediately. Find your legislator, here:


      Otherwise, if both you and employer indicate this was a clean separation – no firing for misconduct, no quit without cause – after four weeks TX should be able to approve. That said, TX does not like to approve unemployment benefit claims, so TX may be looking for a reason to deny at their level even though employer has no issues – meaning TX can deny even if employer does not “contest.”

  • Melissa

    I am a fee for service home health nurse. I have been at my current job for 11 & 1/2 years. This January I requested time off due too increasing stress at work. My employer stated that an office position may be a better fit for me and would let me know when one was available. She also stated that I would be stationed closer to my home and responsible for less visits when I returned to work.
    When I returned to work approximate 5 weeks later, nothing has changed. Same stress, same everything. Then an office position opened up last month so I applied. They had made the statement that they were hiring within. During the interview I felt as though my employer talked me out of the position, stating basically it wasn’t a right fit for me and giving examples like I wouldn’t get to take vacation as normal and that there were several personalities that may conflict with mine. I get along with all of my co-workers.
    I travel to patient’s homes and provide nursing care. Most days 6-8 visits, approx 100-160 miles per day. A few of these homes have been unsafe and we are told that we have to do these visits. One home, each nurse was nearly attacked by 5 dogs in the home and patient refused to remove the dogs during or visits. I was almost bitten on 2 separate occasions.
    I have finally had enough of this and gave my 2 week notice. Everyone I know says that I should file for unemployment. Is this a possibility?

    • Without a medical reason for the quit, especially in TX, it is unlikely TX will grant benefits. Before you quit, write a letter to your employer outlining your grievances, whatever they are, and ask your employer to address them. If you’re lucky, employer will discharge you. It is much easier – especially in TX – to get benefits if you’re fired/discharged, rather than quit. Good cause quits are medical reasons, hostile/unsafe work environment, etc. If you quit, for sure TX will deny the claim and you will need to appeal. Your chances of success at appeal in TX are small and will take months. So, work on getting a discharge.

  • Aprell Johnson

    I have been waiting since Aug. 8,2016 and still haven’t heard anything yet should I be worried?? O sorry this is for my appeal hearing.
    I was fired the manger said I closed the salon early and I didn’t me and another stylist was still cutting hair when she said the salon looked closed the doors where not locked still opened just the open sign was off but had been off that whole day the hearing judge asked the manger in the hearing call if the doors where locked and she said no
    So what do y’all think help plz

    • If it has taken this long for TX to arrive at a decision, it is unlikely the outcome will be favorable. He said/she said is usually reviewed at more length in the appeal. Know that TX is claimant-friendly, so be sure any evidence you present at appeal is clear, documented, and easily understood.

  • Angela

    Why is my claim for less than 26 weeks

    • Because your base period wages did not support 26 weeks’ benefits. In order to receive 26 weeks benefits, total wages in your base period must be at least 26xWBA. Otherwise multiply total wages by 27% and divide by WBA to arrive at the number of weeks paid. Your monetary award letter should list your base period wages. Here is how TX calculates benefits:

      Weekly Benefit Amount
      Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is the amount you receive for weeks you are eligible for benefits. Your WBA will be between $65 and $479 (minimum and maximum weekly benefit amounts in Texas) depending on your past wages.

      To calculate your WBA, we divide your base period quarter with the highest wages by 25 and round to the nearest dollar.

      Your maximum benefit amount (MBA) is the lesser of 26 times your weekly amount or 27 percent of all your wages in the base period.


  • I was laid off July 2015. I received the unemployment benefit las year with no problem. I applied for the 2nd year and it was denied. Anyone knows if this benefit is only for 12 months or more?

    • The “benefit year” lasts twelve months, which means you are given that year to collect your monetary award. TX does not pay more than 26 weeks’ benefits, but you have one year to collect them. That said, if you have not worked and earned new wages between July 2015 and July 2016, TX cannot grant a new claim. You may have had a good LAG (unused earnings) from your earlier employment, but if you have not shown an attachment to the workforce by working during your benefit year, TX cannot grant another claim.

      You probably should read this link.


  • Beth Holmes

    I applied for a day off 3 weeks in advance according to company policy handbook. I used the appropriate form and both managers signed their approval. Now it is 2 days before my requested day off and they say I must work. They want A/R balanced to zero (not currently possible). I do have 100 hours of personal time in the bank and I must enroll my 3 children in 3 different schools and this is the last day to do so. I guess they have the right to fire me, but would I be eligible for unemployment? I have worked there for 6 years. Thank you!

    • Absolutely. You need to work only few months a year to receive full benefits!

    • @beth – you will have a hard time in TX receiving benefits under these circumstances – and will need to appeal all the way up to the Board of Review – and still be denied. Regardless if employer has approved the time off, they are now reneging and TX will stand by employer certainly at application, and through the appeal. Only at the BOR do you have a chance – and at that, not a good one. If you should be fortunate to win, know that you will receive no benefits until that time – which will take several months, or more, at the very least. You probably should consult an unemployment law atty in TX for this litigation.

  • Nina

    I’m approved for unemployment benefits, but I’m not getting very much. I’m trying to find out if I can work part time and still draw unemployment if I don’t find anything fulltime?

    • This from the TX Handbook:

      “If you work part time, you can earn up to 25 percent of your weekly benefit amount (WBA) before TWC reduces your benefit payment. For example, if your WBA is $160, you may earn $40 without a reduction. If you earn $50, we reduce your WBA for the week to $150. In both cases your benefits plus your earnings equal $200. If you earn more than $200, we cannot pay you benefits for that week. If you are working the customary full-time hours for your occupation, we cannot pay you benefits, even if your earnings are below your allowed amount.”


      An easier way to say this is:
      $160 = Weekly benefit amount
      $200 = Partial Benefit Amount (if you work)
      -x50 = Earnings
      $150 = Net benefit paid

      So, gross up your weekly benefit by 25% and then deduct estimated GROSS (before deductions) earnings.

  • john c hinojosa

    i applied online for unemployment on monday but want to see if i can cancel the benefits until i stop receiving my servance pay. can i cancel today and file for unemployment oncei stop receiving my servance pay.

    • In TX, severance is not an offset to unemployment benefits. Severance merely DELAYS payment of benefits. You have 52 weeks to collect benefits under this claim.

      Per TX:

      “Anytime an employer is paying severance pay or wages in lieu of notice, that information should be provided to the Texas Workforce Commission local office on any response to an employee’s claim for benefits. Keep in mind that such additional pay will not stop receipt of unemployment benefits, but payments will be delayed until the until the payment’s period of coverage has expired.”


      Assuming your severance is not the equivalent of more than 26 weeks’ pay, you should not cancel your claim. You may have a very good LAG (unused earnings from the job you just lost) which will provide a basis for an excellent second-year claim – provided you have worked and earned six times your weekly benefit amount during the current benefit year.

      Do not cancel this claim until you have done the math.

  • Jane

    I have been waiting a little over a month for benefits. I was hired through an out of state temp agency to work in the state of Texas, where I live. I was fired from my temp job because the customer would not verify her info for HIPPA, and the call while being placed on hold, waiting for help, was released. The employer was horrible. Talk about unfair. I qualified for the benefits, while looking for another job. I got a call for a review. The young lady was curt. I don’t think she recorded the basic facts, the truth. In the meantime, I am sitting on pins and needles, and feel victimized all over again.TWC don’t answer their phones. All you get are recordings. If you have no money for gas and rent, how can you get to job interviews. Is this the American way? I understand they have to review cases; but some things are black n white. I hope when it happens to them, they receive the same unjust treatment.

    • randall

      Jane: Your story sounds much like mine 6 years ago, Welcome to Texas! I ve been battaling employers ever since. The whole system is made to protect the employer. Forget that unemployment funds are actually Federal funds, but paid at discretion of employer/ TWC which have a mutual benefit to NOT pay a single cent. I feel the anger. I assume you are in health care ? You mentioned HIPPA. Good luck to you.

    • @jane – what Randall states is true. TX is one of the least-claimant friendly states in the country. If there is any question at all on your eligibility, you will get a denial. You need to be very articulate, detailed and persistent to prevail.

      Good luck.

  • Juan Pacheco

    I have been denied benefits since December 2015. Is it because I am receive Social Security. That should not be a factor or determine your decision for no payment. If it is you are discriminating against the elderly.

  • Laura

    Over one month waiting on unemployment and no response and nobody answers the phone either!!! Any suggestions?

    • Nikki

      I went through that a month ago. I’d call to wait on hold forever then never speak to anyone. Online didn’t say anything either. TWC mailed me a request for additional information with only a few days to reply. Luckily my neighbor got the letter on accident and forgot to give it to me right away… denied! I would go to an office and try to speak to someone in person just in case. My appeal was denied due to “inconsistencies” in evidence. If they would just let me speak instead of only answering their questions, they might know what questions to ask! If I would have gotten that letter, I don’t think it would have ended up like this. On to appeal #2! Hopefully I’m not evicted or lose my car before then cause this is taking forever!

  • I was wondering if a 3 week full time employee can obtain benefits if they were fired for no fault of their own. Is there a minimum timeframe you must work before being eligible? Would three weeks qualify? Thank you and God Bless from the best Texas Christian Radio Network, SpiritLife Christian Radio!

    • What is your other work history? If you have earnings in two quarters prior to the job loss, apply for benefits. Those earnings should qualify you for a benefit – assuming this current separation is a discharge/layoff with no misconduct attached.

  • I have been denied for unemployement benefits what can I do now got pay for my house and be able to take care of my kids and put food on the the table Ineed help for now till I find me a job

    • Visit your county social services people for help. Your children should be eligible for CHIP medical insurance, you may be eligible for Medicaid. In addition, you may qualify for food stamps and other assistance.

  • The ‘flight’ option when forced to resign from a job entails
    trying to make this experience as seamless as possible, and trying to eke
    out the best from a bad situation. When you get injured on
    the job, some employers will do everything potential to evade having to pay for your lost
    earnings and medical bills. Title VII protects workers and employees in the aspects of hiring, firing, promotion, training,
    benefits and other employment areas from being discriminated based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

    • Lucy

      Hi im lucy what can i do if i was discriminated at work for not something at my fault only having to do with whom im related to ?

      • Visit your Equal Opportunity Employment Commission office in your area and file a discrimination suit. If you were discharged because of discrimination, just apply for benefits – do not cite that as a reason. The EEOC suit is separate and apart from unemployment benefits.

    • Linda hernandez

      I’m getting laid off at the end of November. My employer told us if they offer us another job and we do not accept it we were not able to collect unemployment. Is this true. …. she offered the other job with her sons business and told us we would get paid the same pay we have now, but talking with her son ,we will have to work with him for less pay then we make now .and not guarantee 40 hours a week . But still they want to say we can’t get unemployment.

      • Essentially, fewer hours and lower pay render the work unsuitable and you are within your rights to refuse it and qualify for benefits. Employers often lie as they do not want their unemployment taxes to go up.

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