Overview

On Monday, June 1, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) notified the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) that the state triggered State Extended Benefits (EB). The extension takes effect on May 31, 2020. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), passed as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), previously extended unemployment benefits for 13 weeks starting March 29, 2020. As a result, the first week Texans may be eligible for the additional EB is the week ending in July 4, 2020.

The Extended Benefits Program (EB) is only available during periods of high state or national unemployment. TWC can only pay claimants EB when the 12-week Insured Unemployment Rate (IUR) is 5 percent or more. As of May 31, 2020, Texas’ unemployment rate was 12.8 percent, exceeding the threshold to trigger the extension. Determination of "on" and “off” indicators can be found in TUCA 209.022.

On June 26, 2020, DOL notified TWC that the state triggered onto High Unemployment Period (HUP). Beginning July 5, 2020, HUP will allow for up to an additional seven weeks of benefit payments, or 30 percent of the claimant’s maximum benefit amount (MBA), immediately following the conclusion of EB​. The first week TWC anticipates individuals transitioning to HUP is the week ending October 3, 2020.

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Note to Claimants

You do not need to reapply for benefits or take any additional action. If you qualify for Extended Benefits (EB), TWC will automatically enroll you. If you are still unemployed, continue filing your payment request every two weeks.

Read more about the High Unemployment Period (HUP) program.

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High Unemployment Period (HUP)

A High Unemployment Period (HUP) exists when the total unemployment in Texas (seasonally adjusted), as determined by the U.S. Secretary of Labor, for the most recent three months equals or exceeds 8 percent. HUP benefits end immediately when DOL determines that the unemployment rate in Texas falls below federal requirements.

In the state of Texas:

  • HUP benefits are effective as of July 5, 2020 
  • HUP benefits can only be paid while Texas is in the high unemployment period
  • HUP benefits are added to your State EB claim 
 

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Weekly and Maximum Benefit Amounts

Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) for a state EB claim is the same WBA you received on your regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim: 

  • The maximum benefit amount (MBA) for state EB is 50 percent of  the regular UI claim’s MBA or will pay up to 13 weeks.
  • The MBA for HUP is 30 percent of the regular UI claim’s MBA or will pay up to 7 weeks.

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Duration

EB benefits will end with whichever scenario happens last: 

  • When the state triggers off high unemployment (less than 6 percent for the preceding 12 weeks), EB benefits will end the third week after the first week the state has triggered off

OR

  • As soon as the 13th consecutive week of the EB period occurs

Again, HUP benefits end immediately once the three-month average total unemployment rate drops below 8 percent.

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Extended Benefits May 31, 2020, Qualifications

To qualify for EB, you must have:

  • exhausted your regular claim for UI benefits in Texas
  • do not qualify for regular UI benefit in Texas or any other state
  • exhausted your PEUC benefits
  • your total  base period wages of your original regular UI claim are:
  • no disqualifications that would prevent you from being eligible for EB
  • at least one week in your benefit year that begins in an EB eligibility period.
 

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Work Search Requirements for Extended Benefits Claimants

While receiving Extended Benefits (EB), you must make a systematic and sustained search for work. The EB program has different work search requirements than regular unemployment insurance. Please read the information we send you carefully and follow all instructions. If you do not meet all the EB work search requirements, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits.

You must meet all of the following work search requirements for each week you request benefits:

  • Look for work on multiple days using different methods and completing different activities, including but not limited to:
  • Document your work search activities completely and accurately on the EB Work Search Log we send you. Keep a copy of the log for your records.
  • Submit your EB Work Search Log within seven days after the day you requested payment:
  • Accept any job you are physically or mentally able to do that pays a wage equal or greater than your weekly benefit amount.

Do not request payment for any week you did not meet these requirements.

If you request payment for a week that you did not meet the EB work search requirements, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits and remain disqualified until you have:

  • Returned to work and
  • Earned four times your WBA or worked for four weeks at 30 hours or more and
  • Separated from this work through no fault of your own

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Possibility of a Benefit Extension

State extended benefits are paid during times of high unemployment in Texas. TWC pays federal extended benefits when the U.S. Congress enacts legislation to create a federal benefit extension program. We notify all potential recipients by mail if an extension is available. Be sure to keep your address updated with us.

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