In the state of Texas, unemployment insurance benefits are available to eligible applicants who meet specific rules and regulations regarding base-pay and job separation. However, unemployment extensions are not available at this time. In addition, applicants must also be physically and mentally able to work. Job search activities, interviews and employment services must all be properly documented. To learn more specific details about federal unemployment benefits in Texas, review the questions and answers below:

1. How do I calculate my benefit amounts?

Benefit amounts are based on past wages. To calculate an unemployment insurance amount, an applicant may use the Texas Workforce Commission’s Unemployment Benefits Estimator. Otherwise, the applicant may wait to receive a statement in the mail with potential benefit amounts. The Unemployment Benefits Estimator cannot say whether an applicant qualifies for unemployment benefits or not.

2. How do I calculate my weekly benefit amount?

Weekly benefit amounts are calculated by dividing base period quarter totals with the highest wages by 25. The weekly benefit amount (WBA) is the amount that the applicant receives during unemployment eligibility. WBA usually vary between $66 and $493, depending on past wages.

3. How can I calculate my maximum benefit amount?

An applicant’s maximum benefit amount (MBA) is the total amount of benefits received during a benefit year. The MBA is 26 times the applicant’s weekly benefit amount, or 27 percent of all wages in the base period. Applicants may run out of benefits before the benefit year expires.

4. How often should applicants search for work while receiving unemployment benefits?

After applicants apply for unemployment insurance benefits, a letter will be mailed out that states the minimum number of job search activities to be completed each week. Applicants will be reminded of his or her weekly minimum each time a payment is requested. Claimants who do not meet the weekly minimum could risk becoming disqualified.

5. What job searching activities should I be reporting?

The candidate’s minimum number of job searching activities should be documented and reported each week. Applicants are encouraged to complete a work search log that documents the date of work search, which type of action was performed, the type of job applied for, the name of the employer, etc.

6. What resources are available to applicants in need of unemployment insurance extensions?

There are no unemployment extensions available in Texas at this time. However, services provided by the Workforce Solutions Offices, 211Texas, Making Home Affordable Program and the Texas Department of Insurance are all available to assist eligible job seekers. Additionally, tax preparation assistance and resources for older workers are available.

7. What do I do if I worked in Texas but live in another state?

Applicants who worked in Texas during his or her specific base period should apply for unemployment benefits in the state of Texas. Additionally, applicants who worked in Texas during his or her base period and then moved out of state should still apply for unemployment benefits in Texas.

8. What if my last job was temporary?

Texas residents may apply for unemployment benefits if his or her last job was temporary. However, applicants must contact the temporary job agency no later than the next business day to see if more work is available before applying for unemployment. Temporary job agencies have three days to provide workers with new work.

9. How do additional sources of money affect insurance benefits?

All additional wages must be reported when collecting unemployment benefits. Additional wages include severance pay, wages paid, retirement pension, disability insurance, military retirement or disability pay, workers’ compensation and all additional earned wages. Jury duty reimbursement should not be reported.

10. What can I prepare before an appeal hearing?

Claimants should gather all evidence, documents and witnesses to increase his or her credibility before an appeal hearing. Documents that may be used as evidence include performance records, charts, maps/diagrams, photos, medical statements, doctor’s records, letters, memos and timecards. Knowledgeable witnesses and subpoena witnesses are also allowed to attend the applicant’s hearing.

11. What if I lost my job due to foreign trade?

Eligible applicants may qualify to receive Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) if job loss was the result of foreign trade. Applicants are encouraged to contact his or her local Workforce Solutions Office as soon as possible to see if TAA eligibility is a possibility. If eligible, Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) and other benefits may be available.

12. How can I end my unemployment insurance claim?

Claimants should stop unemployment benefits within one week of returning to full-time work. Applicants cannot receive unemployment benefits after obtaining full-time work. When stopping unemployment benefits, applicants must report the date that he or she plans to return to work.

13. How can I fight identity theft?

To protect oneself against identity theft, unemployment insurance recipients must correct wage errors and social security number issues as soon as possible. If an applicant has reason to believe that he or she has been the victim of identity theft, the Social Security Administration (SSA) should be contacted for assistance.

14. How do I receive unemployment benefits by direct deposit?

Direct deposit is free for Texas applicants to use. Direct deposit may be requested the business day after applying for unemployment benefits. Applicants should sign up for direct deposit online using Unemployment Benefits Services or by telephone. Texas Workforce Commission cannot set up direct deposit payments.

15. How do I receive unemployment benefits by debit card?

Debit card payments are completed through the U.S. Bank ReliaCard. Applicants do not need a U.S. Bank account to access the ReliaCard. The debit card can be activated online or by telephone.

16. What happens if I have been overpaid?

All overpayments must be repaid to the Texas Workforce Commission, even if the Texas Workforce Commission is at fault for overpaying an applicant. All overpayments stay on the applicant’s record until repaid. If the overpayment happens to be a result of underemployment fraud, applicants must repay the benefit amount in addition to a 15 percent penalty fee.

17. What If I’m unemployed due to a natural disaster?

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available to eligible applicants who lost his or her job due to a major disaster. Applicants can file for DUA if the job made up more than 50 percent of his or her income and if the place of employment was closed or damaged.

18. What do I do if I worked for the federal government?

Unlike other employers, the federal government does not report wages to the Texas Workforce Commission. Applicants who worked for the federal government must estimate his or her federal wages when applying for unemployment benefits using the Texas Workforce Commission’s Eligibility & Benefit Amounts.

19. What do I do if my last job was for a school?

Teachers or Texas school employees who are unemployed due to a scheduled break are not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. However, school workers who lose their job may be able to receive unemployment benefits.

20. What do I do if I worked in the military?

Military workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if he or she served in the military during the specific base period.