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Here are the basics of unemployment benefits to get you started.


Unemployment benefits are paid by employers through taxes and reimbursements. Unemployment benefits pay part of an eligible person’s income while they look for a new job. To be eligible, someone must have lost their job through no fault of their own.

Common Mistake:
Believing that you paid into a benefits account while you were working. This is not true. Employer taxes pay for benefits.

Employees do not pay unemployment taxes. And employers cannot deduct these taxes from paychecks.

Benefits are available if you meet eligibility requirements. The requirements are set by the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act (TUCA). If you receive benefits, you are legally responsible for following the rules set by state law.

Benefits must be reported as income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For more information, see Federal Income Taxes.

When to Apply

You should apply for benefits as soon as you become unemployed. The effective date of your initial claim is the Sunday of the week in which you apply. We cannot pay benefits for weeks before your claim effective date.

For more information, see the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Apply for Unemployment Benefits

TWC's Unemployment Benefits Customer Service

You can manage your claim either online or by phone.

  • Log on to Unemployment Benefits Services to view your claim status and other information.
  • Call our Tele-Serv automated system at 800-558-8321. Claim status and payment request options are available 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Central Time. General information is available anytime.
  • Call our customer service at 800-939-6631 or ask one of our staff to contact you.

Privacy / Confidentiality

Your claim is confidential. However, we share some information with government agencies and their contractors who administer and enforce laws. They may use the data for purposes allowed by law. This can include verifying eligibility for public assistance and supporting law enforcement activities. Other legal uses of this information include statistical analysis, research, and evaluation. We may also share information with official groups that manage and evaluate programs. Examples of these programs include Social Security, Medicaid, nutrition assistance, and child support.

We mail a claim notice to your last employer. We may also contact other former employers. If we pay you benefits by debit card, we share data with U.S Bank, who manages your debit card account. There are state and federal laws regarding the confidentiality of claim information that U.S. Bank must comply with.

See Also