COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits
This article was written by Texas Legal Services Center and applies only to COVID-19 related employment issues.
You may be eligible if you have enough past wages, a qualifying job separation, and meet ongoing requirements.
The Texas Workforce Commission has provided qualifying job separation scenarios here. Review these scenarios to determine how COVID-19 may affect eligibility.
You may be eligible if you are staying home due to a mandatory order issued by government and your job is not considered an essential business under the order.
If your job is exempt from a government order because it is considered an essential business and you do not have COVID-19, you may not be eligible for unemployment.
If your employment has been affected by COVID-19, apply for benefits either online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling TWC’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday.
TWC is experiencing an increase in call volumes and hold times. You are encouraged to use their online claim portal, Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS), to handle your claim needs quickly.
Texas AFL CIO has also created a "how to" guide for navigating unemployment benefit applications. View it here.
To get started you will need:
- Social Security Number
- Last employer's business name, address and phone number
- First and last dates you worked for your last employer
- Number of hours worked and pay rate at the time you apply
- Military employment (service) start/end dates and a copy of your DD Form 214(s) if you served in the military during the past 18 months
- Your alien registration number, if not a U.S. citizen or national
The amount you get in unemployment benefits varies. You can estimate your unemployment benefits online.
If you are receiving income from a pension, annuity, or retirement income, this may affect how much you receive in unemployment benefits.
TWC is processing claims as quickly as possible, but it can take at least four weeks to determine if you are eligible for benefits. Governor Abbott granted the Texas Workforce Commission’s request to suspend the one-week waiting period. You will be able to receive benefits immediately after your unemployment benefit application is approved.