It takes about four weeks from the date you apply for benefits to know if you are eligible for benefits. We use this time to gather information on your:
- Past wages
- Job separation, and
- General eligibility
We use information from you and your last employer to determine if you qualify. TWC sends your last employer a letter with the reason you gave for no longer working there. By law, your employer has 14 days to respond. If the employer gives us new or different information, we contact you for additional information.
Watch your mail for these items related to your claim, which are described in separate sections below:
TWC mails you a Statement of Wages and Potential Benefit Amounts, which tells you:
- The wages your employers reported paying you during each quarter of your base period.
- If you worked in other states, for the federal government, or were in the military, the first benefit statement TWC mails to you will not include those wages because we have to request that information.
- We send you a new benefit statement whenever we receive additional wage information.
- Whether you have enough past wages during your base period to receive benefits – see checkboxes for “You earned enough…” or “You did not earn enough…”
- Your weekly benefit amount, which is the weekly amount you may receive if you are eligible – see “Your weekly benefit amount is $___.”
- Your maximum benefit amount, which is the total amount you can receive during your benefit year – see “The maximum amount you could receive during your benefit year is $___.”
- The start and end dates of your benefit year – see “Your benefit year is the 52 weeks from…”
If There Are Missing or Wrong Past Wages
Call a TWC Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 immediately if there are mistakes on the Statement of Wages and Potential Benefit Amounts. Mistakes might include:
- Incorrect Social Security number
- Missing wages
- Wrong amount of wages
- Wages that are not yours
After we determine your correct wages, we send you a new Statement of Wages and Potential Benefit Amounts. If you disagree with the new determination of your wages, you can appeal the decision. Appeal instructions are on the statement and the Introduction to the Unemployment Benefits Appeal Process page.
It is important to correct errors because if you receive benefits based on incorrect wages or wages that aren't yours, you must repay any overpayment.
You may request that we correct your wages at any time during your benefit year.
If you believe that wages were incorrectly reported under your Social Security number, see Simple Mistake or Identity Theft for information on how to respond to potential identity theft.
The Determination on Payment of Unemployment Benefits informs you if we can pay you benefits based on the single issue listed. You will receive separate Determinations on Payment of Unemployment Benefits for each issue on your claim, such as your reason for job separation or ongoing requirements.
To be eligible for benefits, all determinations TWC sends you must state that we can pay you benefits for the claim period requested. In other words, if you receive multiple determinations saying we can pay you benefits and even one that says we cannot pay you benefits, then we cannot pay you benefits.
Most people receive a determination about the reason for their job separation; however, if you were laid off or are working reduced hours, we will send you a determination about the reason for your job separation only if your employer contacts us to confirm your separation.
Example of Multiple Determinations
John was fired from his job after he was a no-call, no-show at work for six days. His truck broke down so he didn’t have a way to get to work. After a week, he fixed his car and reported to work and was fired for job abandonment.
To receive benefits, John must meet the requirements for past wages, job separation and ongoing eligibility requirements.
Although he received two determination letters saying we could pay him benefits based on his past wages and transportation issue, he also received one letter explaining that we could not pay him benefits because he is disqualified on his job separation. Therefore, John will not receive benefits.
Determination Letter Sections
The Decision section shows:
- Issue: the eligibility question that the letter addresses
- Decision: whether we can pay you benefits, based on this issue alone. If there is a beginning date but no ending date, the decision will stay in effect until you take action to resolve the situation.
- Reason for Decision: results of our investigation
- What you can do: possible actions, if applicable
- Law Reference: the section of the law supporting the decision
- Understanding Your Decision: the effect of multiple determinations, any actions you may need to take and information about employer appeals.
The Determination of Potential Chargeback for the Employer section provides information to your former employer regarding their tax liability for the claim, if applicable. This does not affect you or your eligibility for benefits.
The If You Disagree with This Decision section tells you how to appeal and the deadline. For additional appeal information, see the back of the determination or the Introduction to the Unemployment Benefits Appeal Process page.
How to End a Disqualification
If your Determination on Payment of Unemployment Benefits says you are disqualified, you may be able to end the disqualification through work or earnings after you:
- Start a job after your disqualification begins
- Earn wages equal to six times your weekly benefit amount or work at least 30 hours a week for six weeks
- Either become unemployed through no fault of your own or continue working a part-time job
- Give us proof of your work or earnings and ask us to close the disqualification
We cannot pay you benefits for the time between the beginning of the disqualification and the time that you meet the requirements to close the disqualification.
You can use work or wages from most types of employment for this purpose. You cannot use types of work the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act excludes from its definition of employment. Examples of work you cannot use:
- Domestic service, if the employer pays less than $1,000 in wages during a calendar quarter for all domestic services
- Work performed for your son, daughter, or spouse
- Work for a church
- Work for commission only
- Most self-employment
For details on whether you can use your wages to end your disqualification, call a Tele-Center at 800-939-6631.
You may appeal any TWC determination that says we cannot pay you benefits. For additional appeal information, see your Determination on Payment of Unemployment Benefits or the Introduction to the Unemployment Benefits Appeal Process page.
After you submit a new claim for unemployment benefits, we mail you the following:
- Unemployment Benefits Work Search Guidelines: Examples of acceptable work search activities.
- Instructions to Request Benefit Payments: How to establish your Personal Identification Number (PIN), when and how to submit your bi-weekly payment requests, and how to check the status of your payment or balance of your claim.
- Information on Pell Grants, Training Assistance and TWC-Approved Training
- Unemployment Benefits Handbook with cover letter: Basic information about unemployment benefits for handy reference and information you are responsible to know about your rights and responsibilities.
- Work Search Log: Allows you to record your work search activities. You must document your work search activities each week you receive benefits unless your work search requirement is waived by TWC. Do not mail your work search log to TWC unless requested. TWC may request your logs at any time.