Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Unemployment Benefits ID Theft

If you are not claiming unemployment benefits and have information that a claim was filed using your identity, you should report the ID theft claim on (TWC's) online portal. See Unemployment Benefits Identity Theft for more information.
 

Report ID Theft

 
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued an unemployment insurance phishing fraud alertPDF.  Alert! Be aware of unemployment benefit 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.
 

On this page:

Overview

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Programs Have Ended

As of June 26, 2021, the State of Texas ended its participation in the federal pandemic unemployment benefit programs. The final benefit week that the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) paid federal pandemic unemployment benefits under the American Rescue Plan was the benefit week ending June 26, 2021. 
 
This included:
 
  • The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for those who traditionally did not qualify for regular state benefits, such as self-employed and independent contractors, or exhausted all other benefits
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (PEUC) that extended regular state benefits
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program (FPUC), which provided an additional $300 weekly benefit payment.

PUA benefits were 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, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation PEUC and State Extended Benefits (EB) or did not qualify for these claims
If you received PUA benefits, you are still required to provide proof of employment, self-employment, or prospective employment or self-employment, even though TWC’s participation in the pandemic claims program ended. When TWC requests proof of employment, you must provide the proof by the deadline indicated on the notice. This requirement remains in effect even though the  PUA program ended. If you fail to provide proof, you may have to repay all PUA benefits you received from December 27, 2020, or from your initial PUA claim date.
 
Returning to Work: For help finding your next job, please visit www.MyTXCareer.com or www.WorkInTexas.com and use the virtual and in person services at local Workforce Solutions offices throughout the state.
 

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Eligibility Criteria

To receive PUA benefits, you must have certified that you were able and available for work and were unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work through no fault of your own because:

  • You had been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • A member of your household had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You were providing care for a family member or a member of your household who had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You were unable to reach your place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • You were unable to reach your place of employment because you had been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • You were scheduled to commence employment and did not have a job or were unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • You had become the breadwinner or major support for your household because the head of the household had died as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • You had to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
    • A qualified medical professional diagnosed you with COVID-19. Although you no longer had it, the illness caused health complications that made you unable to perform your essential job functions, with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Your place of employment was closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • You worked as an independent contractor with reportable income, but COVID-19 had severely limited your ability to continue performing your customary work activities, and thereby forced you to suspend those activities.
  • A child or other person in your household for which you had primary caregiving responsibility was unable to attend school or another facility that was closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care was required for you to work. For more information, see PUA Eligibility for Caregivers Impacted by Schools Closing or Reopening.
  • You were denied continued unemployment benefits because you refused to return to work or accept an offer of work at a worksite that, in either instance, was not in compliance with local, state, or national health and safety standards directly related to COVID-19. This included but was not limited to, those related to facial mask wearing, physical distancing measures, or the provision of personal protective equipment consistent with public health guidelines.
  • You provided services to an educational institution or educational service agency and was unemployed or partially unemployed because of volatility in the work schedule that was directly caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This included, but was not limited to, changes in schedules and partial closures. 
  • You were an employee and your hours had been reduced or you were laid off as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
     

You were NOT eligible if you:

  • Were receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits, including benefits from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). However, if you were being paid for less than your customary work week you might have been eligible for reduced PUA. Any paid leave you received must have met Disaster Unemployment Assistance’s income restrictions.
  • Could telework with pay. However, if you were working fewer hours than you did before the pandemic you might have been eligible for reduced  PUA if you met DUA’s income restrictions.
  • Were an essential worker and continued to work. Quitting work without good cause in an attempt to get PUA benefits is fraud.
  • You and your employment were no longer affected by COVID-19.

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Working While Receiving PUA

If you are working full-time, but lost your part-time gig, contract, or self-employed work, you will not be eligible to receive PUA benefits. Because you are working full-time, you are considered fully employed and therefore are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
 
You may be eligible for benefits if you are working part-time. You must report all work and earnings each week that you worked when requesting unemployment benefit payment. You must also report any sick leave or vacation pay received or payments received from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). For more information, see our tutorial on How to calculate and report earnings.
 

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Proof of Employment Required

PUA Claims Filed Before January 31, 2021

If you filed a PUA claim before January 31, 2021, you must provide proof of employment, self-employment, or planned commencement of prospective employment or self-employment. You must provide the proof 90 days from the date TWC notified you of the requirement. 

  • Claims dated prior to January 3, 2021: You must provide proof for calendar year 2019 that demonstrates the existence of employment between January 1, 2019, and your claim’s filing date.
  • Claims dated on or after January 3, 2021: You must provide proof for calendar year 2020 that demonstrates the existence of employment between January 1, 2020, and your claim’s filing date.

Your documentation of employment or self-employment does not need to cover the entire period that you were working. 

If you do not send us proof of employment within the deadline, you will be found ineligible for benefits beginning December 27, 2020, and have to repay any benefits you received. You have the right to appeal any decision holding you ineligible for benefits. The requirement to provide proof was established by law and cannot be appealed.

PUA Claims Filed on or after January 31, 2021

If you filed or moved to a new PUA claim on or after January 31, 2021, you must provide proof of employment, self-employment, planned commencement of prospective employment or self-employment. You must provide the proof within 21 days of the date you filed your claim. 

You must provide proof for calendar year 2020 that demonstrates the existence of employment between January 1, 2020, and the date you filed your claim. Your documentation of employment or self-employment does not need to cover the entire period that you were working. 

If you do not send us proof of employment within the deadline, you will be found ineligible for benefits beginning December 27, 2020, and have to repay any benefits you received. You have the right to appeal any decision holding you ineligible for benefits. The requirement to provide proof was established by law and cannot be appealed.

How to Submit Your Proof of Employment

PUA claimants should submit their proof of employment using TWC’s UI Submission Portal. Select DUA Proof of Employment at Time of Disaster from the Type of Submission drop-down menu. For more information see Sending TWC Proof of Employment.

If you cannot use the online portal you can submit the proof by fax or mail. Due to the heavy volume of mail, processing the proof received by fax or mail will be delayed. 

Mail or fax proof of employment to:

Texas Workforce Commission
Attn: PUA Proof
P.O. Box 149137
Austin, TX 78714-9137

Fax: 512-936-3250

Acceptable Proof of Employment

Acceptable forms of proof of employment include:

  • paycheck stubs
  • earnings and leave statements showing the employer’s name and address 
  • bank records if your paycheck was direct deposit
  • W-2 forms 
  • 1099s
  • Income tax return for the applicable tax year, must include the IRS Tax Form 1040 and schedule C, F, or SE

Proof of Self-Employment

Acceptable forms of proof of self-employment include:

  • state or federal employer identification numbers
  • business licenses
  • tax returns
  • business receipts/invoices
  • signed affidavits from persons verifying the individual’s self-employment
  • Income tax return for the applicable tax year, must include the IRS Tax Form 1040 and schedule C, F, or SE
  • bank statement

Proof of Prospective Employment

Acceptable proof of prospective employment includes one of the following:

  • letters offering employment
  • statements/affidavits by individuals (with name and contact information) verifying an offer of employment. 

Proof of Prospective Self-Employment

Acceptable proof of prospective self-employment  includes one of the following:

  • property titles or deeds for the place of business
  • rental agreement or letter from a property owner showing the claimant planned to open a business 
  • other evidence that you were preparing to open a business, such as business loan documents, business-related receipts, advertising, state tax registration, business registration, Assumed Name Certificate, etc.

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Certification Procedures

Once approved for benefits, you must continue to certify when you request payment for every week in the biweekly request period. On each payment request, you must certify that your job is still affected by COVID-19 and that you continue to meet one of the eligibility criteria.

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Appeals Process & Deadlines

If you disagree with a decision on your PUA claim, you must appeal in writing within 14 calendar days from the date we mail you the Determination Notice. The date mailed is located on the top of the Determination Notice form, and the last day you can file an appeal is at the bottom of the form. If the fourteenth day falls on a federal or state holiday, you have until the next business day to file your appeal.

For more information about the appeals process, see: Introduction to the Unemployment Benefits Appeal Process and How to Appeal a Decision.

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Appeals Notice

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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Fraud

Answer questions accurately and truthfully. You commit fraud if you knowingly provide false or misleading information or withhold relevant information for yourself or another person, to obtain or increase benefits. Unemployment benefits fraud is punishable by law, both felony and misdemeanor, and violators could face serious penalties and consequences.

If you commit unemployment fraud, you must pay back benefits you were not entitled to receive. In addition, you could face a variety of penalties, including:

  • Criminal prosecution by state or federal authorities
  • A possible jail or prison sentence and/or fines
  • Loss of remaining benefits on your claim

For more information see Unemployment Benefits Fraud

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Privacy/Confidentiality

Your claim is confidential. However, we share some information with government agencies and their contractors for the administration and enforcement of laws, including verifying eligibility for public assistance, supporting law enforcement activities, and other purposes permitted by law. Allowable uses of confidential information may include performing statistical analysis, research and evaluation.

Disclosure may be made to entities that manage and evaluate programs such as Social Security, Medicaid, nutrition assistance, and child support. We mail a notice of your claim to your last employer and may communicate with other former employers. If we pay you benefits by debit card, we share information with U.S. Bank because it manages your debit-card account. U.S. Bank and government agencies with access to information must agree to comply with state and federal laws regarding the confidentiality of claim information.

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Unemployment Benefits ID Theft

If you are not claiming unemployment benefits and have information that a claim was filed using your identity, you should report the ID theft claim on TWC’s online portal. See Unemployment Benefits Identity Theft for more information.

Report ID Theft

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued an unemployment insurance phishing fraud alertPDF.  Alert! Be aware of unemployment benefit 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.

Return to Top