Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Programs Have Ended
- The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance 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 that extended regular state benefits
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program , 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 or did not qualify for these claims
Frequently Asked Questions About Unemployment Benefits During The Covid
In response to response to COVID-19, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, commonly referred to as CARES or the federal stimulus bill. Under this law, many workers who lost their jobs or income because of COVID-19 will qualify for unemployment benefits, including many types of workers who do not usually qualify for unemployment benefits under Texas law. In addition, the Texas Workforce Commission has extended the number of weeks of benefits that some workers can receive.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about eligibility and how to apply. You should also check the Texas Workforce Commissions website here: for updates on how they are handling unemployment benefits under the federal stimulus bill. This information is not legal advice. For free, confidential advice and information, contact Texas RioGrande Legal Aid at 888-988-9996.
Texas Unemployment Benefits And Eligibility
COVID-19 UPDATE:Because the coronavirus pandemic has left so many Americans jobless, the federal government has given states more flexibility in granting unemployment benefits. If you have questions about whether youre eligible for unemployment benefits read our COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits and Insurance FAQ and check out Texas claimant handbook.
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Terms Of Employment Termination
An unemployed person must be out of work through no fault of their own to qualify for unemployment benefits. Their termination may have occurred through layoffs, a reduction-in-force , or through downsizing for economic reasons. However, if an employer terminates a person’s job for misconduct, they won’t get UI benefits. Examples of misconduct include: violating the law, violating company policy, or not performing their job duties when they have the ability to do so.
Quitting a job usually means that the terminated employee isn’t eligible for UI benefits, but there are exceptions to this rule, particularly if a person has a good reason for quitting that relates to the job or a medical condition.
Qualifying Considerations For Teachers
Teachers and other school employees must consider several things when filing for Texas unemployment benefits. Are they on a scheduled break, like summer break? If they have earnings in the base period of their claim, are on a planned break, and have reasonable assurance of a job that sets out when they will return, they will not typically qualify for UI benefits because the TWC cannot use their school wages to calculate the benefit amount.
The type of job separation that occurs will also factor into whether a teacher will be eligible for UI benefits. If they lost a job through no fault of their own, they are more likely to qualify for benefits than if they voluntarily quit. The state determines UI eligibility on a case-by-case basis.
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Learn About Requirements For Unemployment Benefits In Texas
Find Texas Unemployment Requirements Information
Determining eligibility for unemployment benefits in Texas is the responsibility of the state Workforce Commission. TX residents who have lost their job due to objective business conditions and through no fault of their own can apply for unemployment compensation if they meet all unemployment insurance eligibility requirements. If you are an unemployed Texas resident who qualifies for unemployment benefits, you can apply with the TX Workforce Commission by submitting all necessary documents and required information. However, besides being unemployed through no fault of your own, you must also meet a set of additional requirements in order to fulfill all of the qualifications for unemployment benefits. The main eligibility criterion is the reason why your employment was ended. If you were fired due to misconduct or criminal activities, or you quit your job voluntarily, you will not obtain eligibility for EDD.
Although unemployment benefits were established to provide financial assistance to workers who have lost their jobs, this type of help is temporary. Furthermore, workers are required to actively look for work and report any job offer or job rejection to the Workforce Commission in order to maintain unemployment insurance eligibility. To learn how to qualify for unemployment in Texas, explore the sections outlined below:
Find Texas Unemployment Resources
Find Out How to Appeal Denied Benefits
There Are 3 Levels Of Appeal
You can write a notice to the Appeal Tribunal of the TWC. If you differ from the results of the Appeal Tribunal, you may appeal to the Commission. An attorney is not needed for the appeal process. You may apply for a rehearing and appeal to a civil court if you disagree with the Commission and present the following:
- Important new information about your case
- The reason why you did not present this information earlier
- The reason why you think this information could change the decision
You may appeal to a civil court between 15 and 28 days after the TWC mailed you the Commission Appeal decision.
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How Many Quarters Do You Have To Work To Qualify For Unemployment
Most states are looking to see that you have worked at least two of the calendar quarters in the base period before approving unemployment benefits. When exploring the base period, states may require that you also earn a certain amount during your qualifying months to qualify for unemployment assistance.
A Guide To Unemployment Benefits In Texas
The Texas Workforce Commission is the state agency that administers Texas unemployment benefits for citizens who are out of work or partially out of work through no fault of their own.
The payment of Texas unemployment benefits is funded by employers who contribute taxes that pay for these benefits. The US Department of Labor allocates funds from the Federal Unemployment Tax Act that pays for operational and administrative costs. The Texas Unemployment Tax Act, Social Security regulations, and other state and federal laws govern Texass unemployment benefits program.
To be eligible for Texas unemployment benefits, unemployed workers must meet certain standards and qualifications.
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Unemployment Resources And Benefits
We hope, and work together with you and other service groups, so that you do not have to face unemployment which affects your ability to support yourself, family, pay bills, and repay victims and Court fines and fees. If you do face unemployment, please first refer to our website under Job Preparation and Search for the ideas and tools needed to quickly get back into the workforce. If there becomes a gap in you employment affecting your ability to support yourself and your family, then consider the information below on unemployment benefits in Texas.
Are You Out Of Work Through No Fault Of Your Own
You must be out of work through no fault of your own to qualify for unemployment benefits in Texas. If you are laid off, lose your job in a reduction-in-force , or get “downsized” for economic reasons, you will meet this requirement. In Texas, employees who are fired for work-related misconduct may not qualify for unemployment benefits. Examples of work-related misconduct include violating company policy, violating the law, or failing to perform your job if you are able to do so.
If you quit your job, you won’t be eligible for unemployment unless you had a good reason for doing so, relating to your work or a medical condition. If someone who truly wanted a job would have left their position in the circumstances you faced, you will still be eligible for unemployment benefits. If you left the job because of domestic violence or stalking, you may also be eligible for benefits. Whenever you quit, you will be expected to have documentation of your reasons .
If you quit to move with your spouse, you will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits for a period of time. However, if you are moving with a spouse who is in the military, you may be eligible right away, depending on the circumstances.
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Expanded Unemployment In Texas During The Covid
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill known as the American Rescue Plan . The law extended a $300 per week federal unemployment supplement until September 6, 2021. However, in response to apparent labor shortages, the state of Texas decided to end this supplement early on June 26, 2021. That means the unemployment supplement is no longer available in Texas.
The law also extended two unemployment programs originally created by the CARES Act in March 2020: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation .
Under the PUA program, self-employed workersusually excluded from unemployment benefitsare entitled to unemployment if they meet certain criteria. ARP makes PUA benefits available through Labor Day 2021, and increases the maximum duration of these benefits from 50 to 79 weeks.
The PEUC program provides for a federally-funded extension of benefits when state unemployment benefits expire. ARP increases the maximum duration of PEUC benefits from 24 to 53 weeks, with an expiry date of September 4, 2021.
Texas Employment Assistance For Those With Disabilities
The Texas Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services program serves people with disabilities who want to get trained, interviewed, and hired in a variety of occupations.
Individuals with disabilities in Texas who want to work are paired with counselors who can sit down with them to better understand their needs and to get closer to their career goals.
Here is a list of programs that fall under the TWC Vocational Rehab Program:
- Vocational Rehabilitation For Adults This program helps adults with disabilities in Texas with services like career counseling, job matching, on-the-job training, and more.
- Vocation Rehabilitation For Students This program helps you to get ready for post-secondary education and employment opportunities. Specific services that are provided to students are help getting or training with assistive technologies, referrals for hearing and vision exams, connections to speech/occupational therapists, and more.
- VR for Older Adults And Individuals Who Are Blind This program helps seniors who are 55+ and blind to connect to resources to help them with independent living. To learn more you can call the Older Individuals who are Blind Program at 512.936.3388.
- Crisis Cole Rehabilitation Center This program helps you to train and find jobs in Texas for the visually impaired. You can learn more about eligibility and the services they offered by visiting the Crisis Rehabilitation Center page.
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Work Search Requirements In Texas
To remain eligible for benefits in Texas, you must be able and available to work, and you must be actively seeking work. Within three business days of applying for benefits, you will need to register for WorkInTexas, the states work search program. After you apply, the TWC will tell you how many work search activities you must complete each week to keep getting benefits. Although you dont necessarily have to hand in documentation of your job search, the TWC can require you to provide the information at any timeand if you dont have it, you will lose your benefits. The TWCs website has detailed information about the states work search rules.
Once you file your initial claim, you will have to request benefits every two weeks, either online or by phone. You will have to provide information regarding your availability to work, your job search, and any work you did during the two-week period covered by the claim.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance :
If you applied for unemployment and the workforce commission finds that you do not qualify for regular benefits, the agency should haveautomatically considered you for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and enroll you if you are found eligible. You should not need to file a separate claim.
PUA lasted through June 26. According to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, you should havequalified if:
- You lost work because of a layoff or permanent, indefinite or temporary business closure caused by COVID-19.
- You are self-employed and your business has closed permanently, indefinitely or temporarily, or you are self-employed and cannot find work because of COVID-19 .
- You had your work hours reduced because of COVID-19.
- You are unable to work because you are caring for a child whose school or child care facility closed because of COVID-19.
- You are fired or leave work to comply with a mandatory order issued under a disaster declaration.
- You are unable to work because of a government-ordered quarantine or a doctor advised you to self-quarantine over COVID-19 concerns.
- You are unable to work because you or someone else in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or you are caring for a family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You are unable to work because you have COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis.
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I Returned To Work But I Am Not Working Full Time Do I Still Qualify For Unemployment Benefits
Maybe. If your employer offers you less hours than you worked before to your employer closed because of COVID-19, you may qualify for partial unemployment benefits. This depends on your income. You should request payments like normal, reporting your income and hours worked, and the TWC will determine if you qualify. If you were working part-time prior to the shut down and have returned to work the same or more hours than before, you probably do not qualify.
Your Appeal Letter Should Include:
- Your name
- The date TWC mailed you the Determination Notice
- A copy of the Determination Notice, if possible
- Any dates on which you will not be able to join in a hearing
- Please keep a copy of your appeal for your records
Mail, fax or deliver your appeal to:
Mail: Appeal Tribunal
101 E 15th St, Room 410
Austin, TX 78778-0001
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How Do I Appeal If My Texas Unemployment Claim Is Denied
If your Texas unemployment application is denied, you have the right to appeal that decision. To do so, you can request a hearing, in writing, within 14 days after you receive a Determination Notice. Texas unemployment laws guarantee you this right.
After you submit an appeal request, the TWC will schedule a hearing and send you additional information to help you prepare for it. Most hearings are conducted by phone, and after the hearing is completed, a hearing officer will rule on your case and mail you a decision.If you are still denied, you can file an appeal to three commissioners of the TWC. Your evidence will be reviewed and send you a written decision. If you are still denied benefits, you can request a rehearing or file a court appeal.
Find Help If You Lost Your Job Because Of Foreign Trade
If you lost your job because of increased foreign imports or shifts in production to foreign countries, you may be eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance , a federal program that helps workers find suitable new work. TAA benefits may include retraining, the Health Coverage Tax Credit, job search and relocation allowances, and weekly benefits called Trade Readjustment Allowance .
- Trade Adjustment Assistance Handbook 2016
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Who Qualifies For Unemployment Benefits In Texas
Eligibility for unemployment compensation in Texas is established by the Workforce Commission. Every unemployed individual who is without work through no fault of his or her own can initiate an application for unemployment insurance, provided that all other qualifications for unemployment benefits are also met, such as:
- The unemployment must be for objective business reasons such as a company, project or department shutdown or a lack of work.
- The unemployment must not be a result of quitting or firing.
- The unemployed individual must not be criminally charged for misdemeanors within the company or outside of it.
- The unemployed individual must have earned sufficient wages during the base period and under insured employment.
Unemployment insurance in Texas is funded by the Workforce Commission, using funds paid by employers taxes. No deductions are made from workers wages for this purpose. The amount of unemployment benefits that workers receive is lower than the wage earned in their base period. This is because unemployment benefits are not a replacement for a full salary, but rather a form of financial assistance during times of unemployment.
When To Apply For Extended Unemployment In Texas
The Extended Benefits Program is only available during periods of high state or national unemployment. TWC can only pay claimants EB when the 12-week Insured Unemployment Rate is 5 percent or more. As of May 31, 2020, Texas unemployment rate was 12.8 percent, exceeding the threshold to trigger the extension.
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Do I Need To Have A Certain Amount Of Work History Or Past Earnings To Qualify
No. Normally you would, but the new stimulus package lets workers who dont have enough work history get benefits if they cant work because of COVID-19. If you have an insufficient work history to qualify for benefits under traditional unemployment insurance, you should be prepared to provide verification of your earnings to help the TWC with figuring out whether you are eligible for unemployment. You will need to provide self-certification that you are partially or fully unemployed, or unable and unavailable to work due to COVID-19.