Unemployment Benefits Coverage and Duration
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Learning how to claim unemployment benefits in TX once the claim is processed is a similar process to applying. Every 2 weeks, the claimant will be required to certify for benefits in order to receive them. Certification of an unemployment benefits claim may be done online or over the phone.
After the application for an unemployment benefits claim is completed, the claimant will receive a weekly payment of benefits. The weekly benefit amount that the claimant is entitled to is subject to changes if the claimant does not meet continuing eligibility requirements.
Benefits are granted to beneficiaries for up to 26 weeks, with the exception of times when the unemployment rises above 6 percent. When the state or national unemployment reaches an unusual high, an unemployment benefits extension may be granted.
This section about unemployment benefits coverage and duration will cover:
- Understanding Your Weekly Benefit Amount in Texas
- Continued Eligibility Requirements for Unemployment in Texas
- Unemployment Benefit Extension in Texas
Understanding Your Weekly Benefit Amount in Texas
Once an unemployment benefits claim is processed and accepted, the claimant will learn their weekly benefit amount. The weekly benefit amount is the amount a claimant is paid in benefits each week by dividing the highest wages in a claimant’s base period by 25 and rounding up to the next dollar. An unemployment benefits claim in Texas may generate between $66 and $493 in weekly benefits.
The weekly benefits amount is determined by 2 factors:
- Past wages
- Base period
The base period is a preset period of time in which the applicant worked determined by the Texas Workforce Commission. The base period is typically the first 4 of the last 5 quarters before the unemployment benefits claim is created in which the petitioner worked. The weekly benefit amount is then calculated by the average wages earned during the base period.
If the petitioner did not work throughout the entire base period, he or she may not be eligible for benefits. However, a petitioner may still be eligible to claim unemployment benefits if he or she did not work through the entire base period due to illness, pregnancy, or injury.
Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA)
When claiming benefits for unemployment, the MBA is the total amount of benefits that can be paid during the benefit year. The MBA should be 26 times greater than the claimant’s weekly benefit amount, or 27 percent of wages earned during the base period.
Continued Eligibility Requirements for Unemployment in Texas
After the first unemployment benefits claim is paid, the claimant must meet certain eligibility requirements to retain UI coverage.
Continuing eligibility requirements include:
- The claimant requesting benefit payment each week
- Being available and able to work
- Submitting a work search log each week
- Participation in reemployment programs
Requesting Benefit Payment
A petitioner must claim unemployment benefits for each week that unemployment insurance is needed. The request for benefit compensation may be done every two weeks online or by phone. When claiming benefits for unemployment, the claimant must inform TWC of the wages earned for the past 2 weeks, if any. Failure to provide accurate information about wages and employment may result in disqualification of benefits in the future.
Available and Able to Work
To claim unemployment benefits in Texas, the claimant is required to be ready for any reasonable work offer. This means being physically and mentally able to work full-time. The claimant must also be available to work, meaning that he or she has reliable transportation to attend job interviews or work and consistent child care, if needed.
Participation in Reemployment Programs
Claimants who the TWC determine as likely to use the entirety of their benefits before becoming reemployed may be selected to attend reemployment events. While claiming benefits for unemployment, the claimant may be called by the Workforce Solutions office to be invited to participate in a reemployment activity. Failure to participate may result in denial or delay of benefits.
Unemployment Benefit Extension in Texas
A claimant may be eligible to claim unemployment benefits in Texas for an extended period of time during times of high unemployment.
The state of Texas participates in two federal unemployment benefits programs:
1. Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)
2. Extended Benefits (EB)
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program was developed in response to the Great Recession, and had 3 tiers, each with varying benefit maximums and coverage periods. As unemployment insurance benefits from the previous tier were exhausted, the claimant moved to the next tier.
The EUC’s tiers are organized as follows:
- Tier 1: 20 weeks, <80 percent of initial claim
- Tier 2: 14 weeks, <54 percent of initial claim
- Tier 3: 13 weeks, <50 percent of initial claim
After the EUC unemployment benefits extension had expired, the claimant may have been able to receive Extended Benefits, as needed. When active, EB grants the claimant an additional 20 weeks of benefits. It should be noted that the EUC expired in 2013, and that currently, the EB program is not available.
Both programs are meant to help the American people during an economic downturn. For this reason, they are only offered when the unemployment reaches over 6 percent. Though there are currently no federal unemployment benefits available in Texas, but EB may become available in the future.