U.S. Department of Labor Fraud Alert

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued an unemployment insurance phishing fraud alertPDF.

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UI Fraud

Alert! Be aware of unemployment insurance scams and fraudulent phone calls. Do not give your personally identifiable information like your date of birth or your Social Security number to anyone you are not sure of.

You can also report suspected unemployment benefit fraud by using TWC’s Report Fraud portal, by emailing TWC.fraud@twc.state.tx.us or by calling our Fraud Hotline at 800-252-3642. 

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Work Search Requirements Reinstated

As Texas continues to reopen, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is reinstating work search requirements for all claimants beginning November 1, 2020. Work search requirements were suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As of November 1, 2020, to remain eligible for unemployment benefits claimants are required to: 

Claimants must certify they are completing their required number of work searches each week when they request benefit payment

For more information see Work Search Requirements for Unemployment Benefits

Skills Enhancement initiative and Metrix Learning

Thinking about changing careers or getting a different kind of job? TWC offers Texas residents the opportunity to improve their skills and learn new skills through our Skills Enhancement initiative and Metrix Learning. 

Metrix Learning provides unlimited access to over 5,000 Skillsoft courses in English and Spanish plus more specialized courses, such as medical billing and coding and mathematics. Each course completion that you pass can build your skill level, and a Metrix course that is completed with a passing score can be one of your work search activities. 

For more details see our Skills Enhancement Initiative Career Tools webpage.

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Overview

At the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the health and well-being of our employers, employees and communities is our top priority. We understand the concern and uncertainty you may be experiencing surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are committed to being responsive to the needs of our customers as the situation evolves.

Note: All information regarding Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is subject to change at any time due to the changing nature of the pandemic. Please revisit this page regularly for updates.

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is working with federal, state and local government officials and agencies to help manage the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On Friday, March 13, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott declared a disaster relating to the pandemic.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the pandemic and partnering with health agencies and health care providers to contain the spread of the illness and help people deal with its effects.

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TWC Pandemic Claim Resources

To apply for benefits online, view your claim and payment status, request a payment, view your electronic correspondence and much more, log on to Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS). UBS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

To apply for benefits by phone or to speak with a TWC customer service representative, call our Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

To request benefit payment, change your payment option, hear your claim and payment status and much more, call Tele-Serv, our automated phone system, at 800-558-8321.

Looking for a job? If you need help accessing WorkInTexas.com or updating your account, contact your local Workforce Solutions office. To find the workforce office nearest you, visit our Workforce Solutions Directory.

If you have questions about unemployment programs or if you need to apply for benefits, review our Unemployment Benefits web pages for general information about unemployment benefits, eligibility, benefit amounts, and how we pay you.

For help in preparing to apply for benefits, review our tutorials on our Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS) web page. There, we have tutorials on how to:

  • Create a TWC User ID and password
  • Apply for benefits online
  • Use electronic correspondence
  • Request a benefit payment, and much more.

These web pages and tutorials provide all the information you need to know about what you need to provide during the application process, how the process works, and what happens next.

You can also get answers by reading our Unemployment Benefits Handbook or by connecting with “Larry the Chat Bot” by selecting the Chat With Us link at the bottom of every TWC webpage.

Our unemployment web pages, our handbook, and our tutorials – and even our online apply for benefits program – are also available in Spanish. Look for the “Ver esta página en español” link near the top right of every unemployment webpage. Spanish applicants can apply for benefits online in Spanish at Servicios de Beneficios de Desempleo

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COVID-19 Unemployment Claim Information

Important Note to COVID-19 Applicants

If you have already applied for unemployment benefits, DO NOT APPLY AGAIN. TWC will determine which pandemic unemployment benefits program you are eligible for and will notify you by mail or electronic correspondence. Make sure to request benefit payment on the date listed on the filing instructions we provided you when you applied, and every two weeks after that on your filing day. If you are working part-time while receiving benefits, you must report all work and earnings for each week you worked when you request benefit payment. You must report payments from your employer for wages paid, sick leave, vacation leave, COVID-19 payment and payments from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). If you lost your part-time job but are still working full-time, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits because you are not unemployed.

 

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Types of Regular and Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Claims

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law on March 27, 2020, included the creation of the following programs to provide unemployment benefits to people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

If you are receiving unemployment benefits because you are unemployed or were furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, TWC determines your eligibility for one or more of these claim types if they are still available.

If you are self-employed, an independent contractor (1099), or a gig worker, see Self-Employed Texans and the CARES Act for more information on what unemployment benefits you may be eligible for. 

Note: All pandemic programs or additional pay programs have expiration dates. TWC cannot pay claimants benefits under expired programs and cannot extend or modify the expiration dates without action from the U.S. Congress. Program expirations cannot be appealed. 

//twc.texas.gov/news/unemployment-news for updates and current information.

Regular Unemployment Benefits

Before you can receive unemployment benefits under any pandemic program claim, TWC must first determine whether you are eligible for a regular unemployment benefits claim. To be eligible for a regular claim, you must:

  • Be unemployed through no fault of your own. This may include being furloughed or unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Have earned enough wages in your base period (the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before you applied for benefits).

For more information see: Unemployment Benefits

Once you exhaust your regular unemployment benefits claim, you may be eligible for one of the pandemic program claims. Note: You do not need to apply for benefits again. TWC will review your claim, determine which program you are eligible for and automatically enroll you in the correct program, if that program is still available.

If you are not eligible for a regular unemployment claim, you may be eligible for a claim under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. See the section below.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

Through PEUC, TWC can extend regular unemployment benefits by an additional 13 weeks.

To be eligible for PEUC, claimants must:

  • Have a claim dated on or after July 8, 2018
  • Have exhausted their regular unemployment claim by December 20, 2020
  • Not be eligible for a regular claim in any other state or Canada
  • Have not returned to work since their last claim
  • The last week that TWC can pay PEUC benefits is the week ending December 26, 2020.

Extended Benefits

The Extended Benefits Program (EB) is only available during periods of high state or national unemployment, such as that caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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. Once Texas triggers off the high unemployment rate, TWC will stop paying EB.

Extended Benefits are available to those claimants who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefit claims and their Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claims. Although Texas triggered on to EB at the end of May, the first week that claimants may receive EB is the week ending on July 4, 2020. EB extends unemployment benefits by up to 13 weeks or up to an additional 50 percent of the claimant’s original maximum benefit amount (MBA), whichever is less. Claimants will receive their same weekly benefit amount under EB.

For more information, see Extended Unemployment Benefits in Texas.

High Unemployment Period (HUP) Benefits

Texas entered into a High Unemployment Period (HUP) as of June 26, 2020, which allowed TWC to extend benefits for eligible claimants for an additional seven weeks of benefit payments, or 30 percent of the maximum benefit amount (MBA), whichever is less, immediately after they exhausted their EB benefits. The HUP period and HUP benefits end in Texas as of the week ending October 10, 2020.

For more information see High Unemployment Period (HUP).

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program temporarily expands unemployment benefit eligibility to self-employed workers, gig economy workers, part-time workers, and others impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who might not otherwise be traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits.

PUA benefits may be available for those claimants who: 

  • Lost their jobs or self-employment because of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Did not earn enough wages in the 18 months before they applied for benefits to qualify for a regular unemployment benefits claim
  • Exhausted their regular unemployment, PEUC and EB benefits or did not qualify for these claims

PUA benefits are available through December 26, 2020.

For more information see Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

For more information also see Self-Employed Texans and the CARES Act.

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Additional Temporary Pandemic Payment Programs

These payment programs have expired. TWC cannot pay claimants benefits under expired programs and cannot extend or modify the expiration dates without action from the U.S. Congress. These program expirations cannot be appealed.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – Expired 

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program increased the weekly benefit amount paid to eligible claimants by $600. FPUC was paid to claimants from the week ending with April 4, 2020, through the week ending July 25, 2020. 

Lost Wages Assistance – Expired 

The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program provided supplemental payments to eligible unemployment benefits claimants who were unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Eligible Texas claimants received a $300 LWA payment along with their unemployment benefits payment.

TWC paid LWA benefits to claimants from the week ending August 1, 2020, through September 5, 2020. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified TWC on September 9, 2020, that funding for the LWA program ended with the benefit week ending September 5, 2020.

TWC will not pay any $300 LWA benefit payments for any benefit weeks after September 5, 2020.

TWC will continue to pay eligible claimants for these approved six weeks for as long as the existing FEMA funds deposited to TWC remain available. Claimants will continue to receive normal weekly benefit amounts for any benefit weeks for which they are eligible.

For more information see the Lost Wages Assistance Program.

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Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Changes

During the pandemic, U.S. Department of Labor guidance provides that federal law permits significant flexibility for states to provide Unemployment Insurance (UI) services related to COVID-19. Based on this, TWC waived the work search requirements for all claimants and the waiting week for those claimants affected by COVID-19.

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Sign Up for Updates

If you have been impacted by COVID-19, locate information and resources for employers seeking workers or as a jobseeker seeking employment or other support services sign-up for TWC COVID-19 updates.

Email Updates
To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

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Unemployment Benefits

At present, the U.S. government and Texas legislature have not changed any laws or rules concerning unemployment benefits during the pandemic. However, Department of Labor guidance provides that federal law permits significant flexibility for states to provide Unemployment Insurance (UI) services related to COVID-19. Based on this, TWC will be waiving work search requirements for all claimants and the waiting week for those claimants affected by COVID-19. 

Apply for benefits as soon as you are unemployed because your claim starts the week you complete the application. However, you may not apply until after your last work day. We cannot pay benefits for weeks before your claim effective date. The effective date is the Sunday of the week in which you apply.

The Texas Unemployment Insurance (UI) program pays benefits to those individuals who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. TWC determines benefit eligibility based on past wages, why someone lost their job, and ongoing eligibility requirements.

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Unemployment and Taxes

Unemployment benefits are taxable. Unemployment benefits must be reported on your federal tax return. A record number of Americans are applying for unemployment compensation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you received unemployment benefits, as well as the additional $600 per week in coronavirus relief any time during tax year 2020, your tax return may be affected.

You can ask TWC to withhold federal income taxes from your unemployment benefit payments. For more information, see: Federal Income Taxes & Your Unemployment Benefits.

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If You Worked for a School

If you are a teacher or a school employee working in a non-instructional position, TWC considers two primary considerations to determine your eligibility for unemployment benefits:

  • Whether you are on a scheduled break: If you worked for an educational institution during the last 15 months before you applied for your claim, are on a scheduled break in the school year and have a contract or reasonable assurance of a job in the next academic term or after the break, you generally would not qualify for unemployment benefits because we cannot use your school wages to calculate your benefit amount.
  • Type of job separation: If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you might qualify for unemployment benefits. Eligibility for benefits is determined on a case-by-case basis.

For more information see If You Worked for a School

 

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Appeals Notice

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Appeals hearings are proceeding as scheduled. However, due to the unprecedented number of unemployment benefit claims that resulted from the pandemic, we are experiencing a significant delay processing and scheduling appeals. We are working to resolve all issues as quickly as possible.

If you have a hearing scheduled, please participate according to the directions on the Notice of Hearing. If you have any questions or concerns about participating in the hearing related to COVID-19, please contact your hearing officer directly using the contact information on your Notice of Hearing.

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Unemployed After Returning to Work

If it has been three weeks or less since your last payment request:

  • Request payment at ui.texasworkforce.org or call 1-800-558-8321.
  • Be sure to report any hours you worked and any earnings during the period requested.

If it has been more than three weeks since your last payment request:

  • Apply for Benefits again at ui.texasworkforce.org or by calling our Tele-Center at 800-939-6631.
  • To help TWC activate your claim quickly, select layoff as the reason you lost your job if you were furloughed or the business closed.

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Precautions for Employees

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

For more information on the status of COVID-19 in Texas, see the DSHS website at: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/.

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Health Insurance Resources

Texans who have lost employment-based health insurance can find information and resources on the Texas Department of Insurance's COVID-19 Resource page. Available resources include: 

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TWC is Hiring

While many businesses have had to close their doors, TWC is hiring. To view and apply for jobs at TWC, select the TWC Jobs link under the Quick Links menu on twc.texas.gov or visit WorkInTexas.com.

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Virtual Job Fairs

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News and Information

For TWC news and information, see Recent Press Releases and our News page.

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