Eligibility for Unemployment in Texas


The Texas Workforce Commission determines who qualifies for unemployment in Texas by establishing eligibility guidelines. Unemployment insurance eligibility is contingent on the applicant’s past wages and reason for unemployment. To retain eligibility for EDD in Texas, the applicant also must meet continuing eligibility requirements.

Applicants interested in learning how to qualify for unemployment benefits may review the following information.

  • What are the requirements to get unemployment In Texas?
  • Employment history requirements in Texas
  • Requirements if left voluntarily in Texas
  • Work search and availability requirements

What are the Requirements to Get Unemployment in Texas?

The TWC requires petitioners to meet several qualifications for unemployment both before and after benefits are granted. The Texas unemployment insurance eligibility requirements at the time of application include:

  • Employment in Texas for a total of at least 6 months in the past year
  • Registration as a job seeker with Texas Workforce Solutions within 3 days of applying for benefits
  • Physically and mentally able to work
  • Available to begin work immediately

Employment History in Texas

Who qualifies for unemployment in TX is directly affected by the amount of time worked and wages earned in the past. Unemployment benefits may be granted if the petitioner has earned enough wages during his or her base period.

The petitioner’s base period will be the first four of the last five calendar quarters worked. Petitioners who were unable to work for 7 weeks or more during this period may qualify for an alternate base period, given that medical documentation of pregnancy, injury, disability or illness can be provided. For eligibility for unemployment using an alternate base period, medical documents must be no older than 2 years.

To be eligible for unemployment insurance in TX, petitioners who are employed with a temporary help agency must apply for benefits after 3 business days after the last assignment. Petitioners who apply without seeking immediate reassignment from the temporary help will not be eligible for benefits.

Quitting and Being Fired From a Job in Texas

Under normal circumstances, employment insurance eligibility in Texas is difficult to obtain for a petitioner who has voluntarily separated from his or her job. Typically, unemployment benefits are granted to applicants who are working reduced hours, have been laid off, or fired, all through no fault of the applicant. Unemployment benefits may not be granted to applicants who quit due to personal reasons.

An applicant who qualifies for unemployment after quitting may be:

  • Unemployed due to illness, injury, disability or pregnancy but is now able to work given that medical documentation of the illness are provided.
  • A victim of physical violence (including sexual assault) or stalking related to the workplace.
  • Relocating with his or her spouse. Benefits will be reduced unless the spouse is enlisted in the United States military.
  • Unemployed for a good work-related reason. The petitioner must have documentation for this reason as well as proof that an attempt was made to correct the issue through the employer.

Petitioners who have been fired may not meet qualifications for unemployment benefits. Unemployment insurance benefits may potentially be granted for petitioners who have been fired without misconduct in the workplace. Work-related misconduct includes but is not limited to: breaking state or federal law, poor work performance and not following company policy.

Searching for Work

Because unemployment benefits in TX are given for a predetermined period of time, the next question applicants may ask is: “What are the requirements to get unemployment in terms of job search?”

With the exemption of certain claimants, claimants have 3 business days after submitting an unemployment claim to register as a job seeker. For non-Texas residents to retain unemployment insurance eligibility for wages earned in Texas, he or she must register with the nearest public workforce office.

To continue to receive unemployment benefits, the claimant must meet the job search requirements outlined in the claim acceptance letter. If the applicant receives a part-time job, he or she is required to continue to search for work until a full-time job is offered. Eligibility for unemployment may be forfeited if the applicant does not meet the job search requirements.

Texas unemployment insurance eligibility also requires that the applicant accept any reasonable job that is offered during his or her job search. A “reasonable” job offer depends on the skills and experience of the applicant. To retain eligibility for unemployment, the applicant must reduce his or her asking wages by 75 percent if no reasonable jobs are offered by 8 weeks.

Available for Work

Eligibility for EDD is contingent on the claimant’s availability to work. The claimant must be actively searching for work each week and is expected to be available to accept any reasonable job offer. To be considered available for work, the claimant must:

  • Have reliable transportation
  • Have consistent child care, if applicable
  • Not be incarcerated
  • Be mentally and physically able to work
  • Not have any personal obligations keeping him or her from working.