Unemployment Benefits Eligibility

TWC evaluates your unemployment benefits claim based on:

  • Past wages
  • Job separation(s)
  • Ongoing eligibility requirements

You must meet all requirements in each of these three areas to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Past Wages

Your past wages are one of the eligibility requirements and the basis of your potential unemployment benefit amounts. We use the taxable wages, earned in Texas, your employer(s) have reported paying you during your base period to calculate your benefits. If you worked in more than one state, see If You Earned Wages in More than One State.

Base Period

Your base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the effective date of your initial claim. We do not use the quarter in which you file or the quarter before that; we use the one-year period before those two quarters. The effective date is the Sunday of the week in which you apply. The chart below can help you determine your base period. If you do not have enough wages from employment in the base period, TWC cannot pay you benefits.

To have a payable claim, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • You have wages in more than one of the four base period calendar quarters.
  • Your total base period wages are at least 37 times your weekly benefit amount.
  • If you qualified for benefits on a prior claim, you must have earned six times your new weekly benefit amount since that time.

A base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the date of an initial claim for unemployment compensation.

Alternate Base Period

If you were out of work for a long period during your base period because of a medically verifiable illness, injury, disability or pregnancy, you may be able to use an alternate base period. Call a TWC Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 to ask if you qualify for an alternate base period.

Types of Job Separation

To be eligible for benefits based on your job separation, you must be either unemployed or working reduced hours through no fault of your own. Examples include layoff, reduction in hours or wages not related to misconduct, being fired for reasons other than misconduct, or quitting with good cause related to work.

Laid Off

Layoffs are due to lack of work, not your work performance, so you may be eligible for benefits. For example, the employer has no more work available, has eliminated your position, or has closed the business.

Working Reduced Hours

If you are working but your employer reduced your hours, you may be eligible for benefits. Your reduction in hours must not be the result of a disciplinary action or due to your request.

Fired

If the employer ended your employment but you were not laid off as defined above, then you were fired. If the employer demanded your resignation, you were fired.

You may be eligible for benefits if you were fired for reasons other than misconduct. Examples of misconduct that could make you ineligible include violation of company policy, violation of law, neglect or mismanagement of your position, or failure to perform your work adequately if you are capable of doing so.

Quit

If you chose to end your employment, then you quit. Most people who quit their jobs do not receive unemployment benefits. For example, if you quit your job for personal reasons, such as lack of transportation or stay home with your children, we cannot pay you benefits.

You may be eligible for benefits if you quit for one of the reasons listed below:

  • Quit for good cause connected with the work, which means a work-related reason that would make an individual who wants to remain employed leave employment. You should be able to present evidence that you tried to correct work-related problems before you quit.
    Examples of quitting for good work-related reason are well-documented instances of:
  • Quit for a good reason not related to work, under limited circumstances. Examples include leaving work because:
  • Quit to move with your spouse when the move is not part of a qualifying military permanent change of station (PCS). You may be eligible for benefits but you will be disqualified for 6 to 25 weeks, depending on the situation. Your maximum benefit amount is also reduced by the number of disqualified weeks.

Labor Dispute

If you are involved in a labor dispute or strike, see more information at If You are Involved in a Labor Dispute or Strike.

Ongoing Eligibility Requirements

In addition to the past wages and job separation eligibility requirements, there are requirements you must continue to meet to stay eligible. See Ongoing Eligibility Requirements for Receiving Unemployment Benefits.

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Benefit Amounts

We will mail you a statement with your potential benefit amounts after you file your claim. You may use the TWC Benefits Estimator to estimate your potential benefit amounts. The estimator cannot tell you whether you qualify for unemployment benefits.

Your benefit amounts are based on your past wages. How we calculate benefits is explained below.

Weekly Benefit Amount

Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is the amount you receive for weeks you are eligible for benefits. Your WBA will be between $63 and $454 (minimum and maximum weekly benefit amounts in Texas) depending on your past wages.

To calculate your WBA, we divide your base period quarter with the highest wages by 25 and round to the nearest dollar.

If you work during a week for which you are requesting payment, you must report your work. Wages earned may affect your benefit amounts.

Maximum Benefit Amount

Your maximum benefit amount (MBA) is the total amount you can receive during your benefit year. Your MBA is 26 times your weekly benefit amount or 27 percent of all your wages in the base period, whichever is less. To receive benefits, you must be totally or partially unemployed and meet the eligibility requirements.

Your benefit year begins on the Sunday of the week in which you applied for benefits and remains in effect for 52 weeks. Your benefit year stays in effect for those dates even if TWC disqualifies you or you receive all of your benefits. You may run out of benefits before your benefit year expires.

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Child Support Obligation

If you owe court-ordered child support, we will reduce your weekly payment by up to 50 percent to pay your child support. The Office of Attorney General (OAG) notifies TWC if you owe child support. We deduct the amount directly from your payment and send the funds to OAG, who will give the money to the custodial parent.

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Last Verified: April 15, 2014

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