How To File For Texas Unemployment

This page provides information on how to file for unemployment in Texas. If you lost your job or your hours were reduced at no fault of your own, you may qualify to receive unemployment benefits in your state. Review the information below, if you still have questions or issues about these benefits, then we suggest to contact your local Texas Unemployment Department for assistance. It is important that you file your new claim right away because Texas unemployment insurance are not retroactive.

Texas unemployment benefits eligibility

TWC evaluates your unemployment benefits claim based on:

  • Past wages
  • Job separation(s)
  • Ongoing eligibility requirements

You must meet all requirements in each of these three areas to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Past Wages

Your past wages are one of the eligibility requirements and the basis of your potential unemployment benefit amounts. They use the taxable wages, earned in Texas, your employer(s) have reported paying you during your base period to calculate your benefits. If you worked in more than one state, see If You Earned Wages in More than One State.

Base Period

Your base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the effective date of your initial claim. They do not use the quarter in which you file or the quarter before that; They use the one-year period before those two quarters. The effective date is the Sunday of the week in which you apply. The chart below can help you determine your base period. If you do not have enough wages from employment in the base period, TWC cannot pay you benefits. To have a payable claim, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • You have wages in more than one of the four base period calendar quarters
  • Your total base period wages are at least 37 times your weekly benefit amount
  • If you qualified for benefits on a prior claim, you must have earned six times your new weekly benefit amount since that time
Alternate Base Period

If you were out of work for a long period during your base period because of a medically verifiable illness, injury, disability or pregnancy, you may be able to use an alternate base period. Call a TWC Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 to ask if you qualify for an alternate base period.

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. They cannot pay benefits for weeks before your claim effective date. Apply for benefits with the state where you worked during your base period. If you worked in more than one state, see If You Earned Wages in More than One State.

If your last job was for a temporary agency or staff leasing company, you have additional requirements:

  • If your last job was for a temporary agency, you must immediately contact the temporary agency for a new assignment and wait three business days after your assignment ended before applying for benefits. The agency has three business days to offer you a new assignment
  • If your last job was for a staff leasing company, you must immediately contact the staff leasing company for a new assignment

Apply for Texas unemployment benefits

Apply for benefits in one of two ways:

Information you need when applying for unemployment

You will need:

  • Your last employer's business name, address and phone number
  • First and last dates (month, day and year) you worked for your last employer. If you worked for your last employer on more than one occasion, provide the most recent employment dates
  • Number of hours worked and pay rate if you worked the week you apply for benefits (Sunday through Saturday)
  • Information about the normal wage for the job you are seeking
  • Alien Registration number (if not a US citizen)

It takes about four weeks from the date you apply for benefits to know if you are eligible for benefits. They use this time to gather information on your past wages, job separation, and general eligibility. You can check your claim status online at Unemployment Benefits Services or call Tele-Serv at 800-558-8321 and select option 2.

They 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, they contact you for additional information.

Watch your mail for these items related to your claim, which are described in separate sections below:

  • Statement of Wages and Potential Benefit Amounts
  • Determination on Payment of Unemployment Benefits
  • Additional Information They Send You After You Apply
Benefit Amounts

They will mail you a statement with your potential benefit amounts after you file your claim. You may use the TWC Benefits Estimator to estimate your potential benefit amounts. The estimator cannot tell you whether you qualify for unemployment benefits. Your benefit amounts are based on your past wages. How they calculate benefits is explained below.

Weekly Benefit Amount

Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is the amount you receive for weeks you are eligible for benefits. Your WBA will be between $67 and $494 (minimum and maximum weekly benefit amounts in Texas) depending on your past wages. To calculate your WBA, they divide your base period quarter with the highest wages by 25 and round to the nearest dollar. If you work during a week for which you are requesting payment, you must report your work. Wages earned may affect your benefit amounts.

Maximum Benefit Amount

Your maximum benefit amount (MBA) is the total amount you can receive during your benefit year. Your MBA is 26 times your weekly benefit amount or 27 percent of all your wages in the base period, whichever is less. To receive benefits, you must be totally or partially unemployed and meet the eligibility requirements.

Your benefit year begins on the Sunday of the week in which you applied for benefits and remains in effect for 52 weeks. Your benefit year stays in effect for those dates even if TWC disqualifies you or you receive all of your benefits. You may run out of benefits before your benefit year expires.

To continue to be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must be totally or partially unemployed (working part time) and meet all of the requirements listed below and explained in detail later on this page:

  • Meet all work search requirements, unless they exempt you from work search
  • Request payment for weeks of unemployment, when scheduled
  • Be physically and mentally able to work
  • Be available for full-time work
  • Participate in reemployment activities as required
  • Respond to requests from TWC or a Workforce Solutions office as instructed

File an appeal

An appeal is your written notice that you disagree with a TWC decision and want your case decided through the appeal process. State law gives TWC sole authority in disputed unemployment benefits claims; no other state agency or official can affect the outcome of an appeal. To participate in an appeal you must meet submission deadlines. For information on deadlines, see How to Appeal a Decision.

Three Levels of Appeals

There are three levels of appeals. You start with the first level, and if you disagree with that decision, you may proceed through the other levels.

  • Appeal to the Appeal Tribunal
  • Appeal to the Commission
  • Motion for Rehearing or Appeal to a Civil Court

These instructions are for the first step in the appeals process, which is an appeal to the Appeal Tribunal. The first step is to appeal in writing to TWC. You must appeal in writing within 14 calendar days from the date that they 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.

You can submit your written appeal online, in person at your nearest Workforce Solutions office, or by mailing or faxing your appeal letter to the Appeals Department. The mailing address and fax number are shown on your Determination Notice and listed below. You cannot submit an appeal by e-mail or over the telephone. If you choose to fax the information, keep the paperwork that indicates successful transmission of your appeal. Your letter or appeal form should include:

  • Your name
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your current address
  • 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 participate in a hearing

Please keep a copy of your appeal for your records. Mail, fax or deliver your appeal to:

Mail: Appeal Tribunal
Texas Workforce Commission
101 E 15th St, Rm 410
Austin, TX 78778-0001