hide my visit

Unemployment Benefits: Guides for You

Unemployment benefits definition

Unemployment benefits are part of an employer-paid program that provides temporary, partial income replacement to qualified individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own.

A common mistake is believing that you paid into an unemployment benefits account while you were working. This is not true. Employer taxes pay for unemployment benefits.

Employers pay unemployment insurance taxes and reimbursements that support unemployment benefit payments. Employees do not pay unemployment taxes and employers cannot deduct unemployment taxes from employees' paychecks.

Unemployment benefits are available if you meet eligibility requirements set by the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act (TUCA). If you collect benefits, you are legally responsible for following the rules set by state law.

Unemployment benefits must be reported as income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For more information, see Income Taxes & Your Unemployment Benefits from twc.state.tx.us.

This estimator can be used to find your potential benefit amount before applying for benefits. It cannot tell you whether you are qualified to receive benefits.

Applying for unemployment benefits

Apply for benefits as soon as your are unemployed because your claim starts the week you complete the application. However, you may not apply until after your last work day. We cannot pay benefits for weeks before your claim effective date.

Apply for benefits with the state where you worked during your base period. More information is on twc.state.tx.us if you worked 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.

Read about how temporary work affects your benefits.

Ongoing eligibility requirements

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 we 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 the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or a Workforce Solutions office as instructed

More details can be found on twc.state.tx.us about receiving uneployment benefits.